AVON, Ohio — A family has been ripped apart by COVID-19, and now a local woman is stepping up to help her loved ones.
Danielle Hoover-Bernhardt's sister is in the ICU with coronavirus.
It's a story that stretches from Southeast Virginia to Northeast Ohio, with only one way to describe it.
"It feels like a nightmare, and we look at each other everyday and we're like, 'this can't be real. It can't be our family,'" Danielle said.
Danielle held back tears as best she could when she described the deadly virus that ripped through her sister's family.
"This stuff is real, we have seen it, we have lived it," Danielle said.
Danielle's family lives here in Notheast Ohio. Her sister Angelique's family lives in Virginia. Last month, all five members of Angelique's family were infected with COVID-19.
None of them were vaccinated. The two younger children recovered. Angelique, her husband Aron and their 19-year-old son, Austin, landed in the ICU.
Austin is out now, but Angelique is still there a full month later and in critical condition. But Aron, her husband of 26-years and her high school sweetheart, took a turn for the worse.
"And unfortunately, later that night, he passed away. We were able to say goodbye," Danielle said.
Angelique is still in the hospital, with her son by her side.
"I couldn't leave my mother alone, after my dad went, I knew I had to be my mom's biggest support, without question," Austin said.
And Angelique's younger kids? They're staying with their godparents.
Danielle, her husband Rich, and their kids, they're enrolled in the Avon School District, hoping the family can reunite soon, here.
"I only wish that Angelique and Aron got the vaccine. I think Aron might be here today," Danielle said.
"All three of us waited too long, until it was too late, and I think that's a mistake a lot of people are making these days," Austin said.
We're told Angelique could spend the next few months in a hospital until she recovers. And if you want to help this family with their growing medical bills, you can visit their GoFundMe page, here.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.