A young student at Knox County School died of complications from COVID-19.
Adarin Rita Gravis, 7, died Monday night after developing a severe neurological response to COVID-19, her mother Jennifer Kowalski Gravis told Knox News. ..
Adarin, a sophomore at Rocky Hill Elementary School, suffers from Raynaud’s syndrome, and her mother said doctors believe COVID-19 caused an autoimmune disease in her child.
“She was the best child in the world,” said Jennifer Kowalski Gravis. “Her heart was very big, but it wasn’t strong enough.”
Adarin suffered a low-grade fever on Friday and then “suddenly” went downhill, Kowalski-Graves said. “It was within a few hours. Her body couldn’t fight it.”
She was admitted to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital on Saturday night and transferred to the Monroe Karel Junior Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville on Monday, Kowalski Gravis said.
“Thousands of people were praying for her,” she said. She said, “A prayer group was held throughout the school. It was wonderful. She was loved very much. She brightened everyone’s life.”
Adarin, who is called a “mother chicken” by all the children in the neighborhood, said she had been praying for her sister every night for four years.
Her “greatest dream came true,” said Holly Pace, who was an Adarin kindergarten teacher at Rocky Hill on January 28, when her sister Ella was born. “She talked about it non-stop. She was very proud.”
According to Kowalski Gravis, Adarin spent only a few days before Ella became ill and isolated.
Neighbor Diana Ford said Adarin was feverish but well.
“She was really fine until she suddenly lost her energy,” Ford said. “It’s really incredible.”
Within hours of being admitted to the hospital, Adarin was intubated, her mother said.
“They think her body was attacked,” the neurologist added, adding that Adarin developed acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, or ADEM.
Known to occur more often in children, ADEM is a rare disorder following infection and can cause widespread inflammation of the brain and spinal cord tissue. The exact cause is unknown, but in severe cases, nerve damage from inflammation can lead to long-term disability and death.
It is known to occur more commonly in upper respiratory tract infections, such as those that can occur in Omicron variants. Dozens of cases have been reported worldwide after COVID-19 infection.
In a message shared with school parents on Tuesday, Rocky Hill Principal Tinaholt said, “I am deeply saddened by the sudden death of one of my students. Our idea is that everyone who is sad, Especially in the Gravis family. “
Counselors can be used to support students and staff during this difficult time, Holt said.
Adarin’s death will leave a big hole in her school and her community, Pace said.
“She was wise over the years,” Pace said. “All the children (in her school) were drawn to her. She was just kind and had a light about her.”
A GoFundMe fundraising Founded by Pace, the Adalyn Graviss Memorial Fund, it has already exceeded its $ 15,000 target. A Meal train By the first week of March, meals are already prepared for the family.
According to Kowalski-Graviss, the flood of support was amazing.
Adarin “touched so many lives,” she said. “She was the most wonderful girl with the greatest heart. Her child deserved the world.”
The Knox County Health Department said Tuesday that this was the first childhood death in Knox County associated with COVID-19.
Reporters Vincent Gabriel and Becca Wright contributed to the story.
This article was originally published in Knoxville News Sentinel: A 7-year-old Knoxville student died of COVID-19 complications