'We haven't stopped crying': Charlotte teen dies from rare condition weeks after having COVID-19

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A 15-year-old from Charlotte died from a rare complication weeks after she and her family tested positive for COVID-19.

Alyssa Simons was a rising sophomore at North Mecklenburg High School. She had her whole life ahead of her.

"She loved to draw, she wanted to go to school for fashion design, that's all she did was draw, draw, draw," Simons' mother Shernett Reevey said in an interview with WSOC.

Reevey said her whole family came down with COVID-19 in March. Simons tested positive too, but she was asymptomatic.

Several weeks later, Simons started having severe stomach and back pains.

"We tried to take her upstairs and she just collapsed and that's when we called 911," Reevey said.

Simons spent the next 10 days in the hospital. She was diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C. That's a condition where various body parts become inflamed.

Doctors are not yet sure what causes it. However, they have noticed that many children with MIS-C lately had COVID-19 or were exposed to COVID-19 prior to their MIS-C diagnosis.

After the hospital stay, Simons appeared to be getting better. But then one day the pains came back.

"She started complaining about the pains again so I made another appointment and I told her if she didn't get better in the morning I'm going to take her to the hospital again," Reevey said.

Those would be some of the last words Reevey ever said to her daughter.

Simons died that night in her room.

"I woke up and checked on her, and she was already gone," Reevey said.

"What I want parents to know is that this is out there. COVID is not over; this is not being talked about," Simons' aunt Yolanda Johnson said. "Your child may have a mild stomachache or backache and you might just write that off as 'Oh OK; it's nothing big. You'll be fine.'"

Reevey and Johnson urge other families to pay attention to any and all symptoms.

"We haven't stopped crying since we lost her, but if our story will help save another child's life, then it makes all the difference in the world. Early detection, reconsider the vaccine, it's available," Johnson said.

The Pfizer two-shot vaccine is approved for children 12 years and older.

"I just hope that her story can help another child," Reevey said
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