Ohio woman left devastated after coronavirus kills elderly parents and brother, puts husband on ventilator
GROVE CITY, OHIO: An Ohio woman has revealed her devastation after the novel coronavirus "destroyed" her family by killing her brother and elderly parents within days of one another, and has also seemingly infected her husband.
Speaking to the Columbus Dispatch, Kelley Conkey Billups, 54, has now urged everyone to stay at home and maintain social distancing lest they are befallen by the same tragic fate as hers. "It has destroyed my family. It has broken my family," she said, struggling to hold back her tears.
"It’s like a nightmare. It’s like ... knowing that a big winter storm is blowing in and you get prepared and you hunker down and you just wonder how bad it’s going to get, how long it’s going to last, and what happens when it’s all over and how you dig yourself out. But I don’t know how to dig myself out now."
It all started following a family weekend gathering on March 7-8, when her brother David Conkey, 51, drove to Columbus to see their parents Lewis and Judith Conkey, the latter of whom had had recent surgery and needed some rehabilitation. David was to help his mom get settled into the Mill Run Rehabilitation Center in Hilliard, following which the entire family spent two days together. "We laughed and joked and just had a ball," Conkey Billups shared.
However, the day after he returned home, David fell sick, and his health deteriorated rapidly from there. On March 10, he was diagnosed with ear and sinus infections, and two days after that, he was on a ventilator and fighting for his life. A day after that, on March 13, his father fell sick. A few days after that, his mother fell sick as well.
It got worse. On March 23, Conkey Billups had to call an ambulance for her 51-year-old husband Don, who too had to be placed on a ventilator shortly after because he was having trouble breathing. On Sunday, March 29, David passed away. Two days later, Lewis and Judith -- reportedly high school sweethearts who had married each other in 1963 -- died just a couple of hours apart at a Mount Carmel Grove City hospital.
"I prayed to my brother to come with God to take them together because our parents would never have survived knowing that we lost him," Conkey Billups said. "They would not have been able to recover. Not ever."
A friend of hers has now set up a GoFundMe page to raise money that will help her cover the medical and funeral costs of her brother and parents. "The Conkey & Billups Family has suffered a massive strike of the Covid-19 Virus," the friend wrote. "Kelly Conkey Billups, a local Columbus Realtor lost her brother David first, on March 29, 2020, to the deadly disease. That is the day we began this fund.
"Then, tragically on March 31, 2020, within hours of each other, she lost her mother Judith, then her Father Lou to the virus," the friend continued. "Now, her husband Don is in a coma, on a ventilator in the ICU in "critical yet stable" condition, fighting to survive."
"This money will help the family tremendously. If it cannot be used for the family, I am confident it will be paid forward."
The page has raised close to $43,000 at the time of writing.