RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- COVID-19 continues to take lives, and a North Carolina corrections officer who lost her mother to the virus has a message for everyone:
"Wear the mask. It is not about you, wear the mask."
Cheri Styons also battled the virus herself. She said she caught it in August from a co-worker. She unknowingly took it home and gave it to her mother.
"When you see this virus first hand, it is horrible. It took her out literally one organ at a time heart, brain, lungs."
Styons said it was heartbreaking to watch her mother die and even worse knowing that she is the one who passed on the virus that killed her.
"He gave it to me and I gave it to my mom, and if you've ever seen anybody die from this, especially like in her case--it was bad, it was horrible," she said.
Styons and her mom lived together, and days after Styons was diagnosed with the virus, her mom got sick too.
"I guess the conditions in her body were just right, or it liked where it was and it stayed," Styons said.
While Cheri recovered, her mom's health deteriorated and she died weeks after contracting the virus.
"She's not a statistic. She's not a number, she's my mom," Styons said.
Now that her mom is gone, Styons wants others to wear a mask for her.
"Wear it. Think of somebody else," she urged. "I wish someone would have thought about my mom."
Styons said hearing people complain about wearing a mask makes the pain of losing her 67-year-old mom to COVID-19 even worse.
"That time was taken from us and that's not right," she said. "People think too much about themselves. I hear people say, 'That's my freedom. You're taking away my air.' Well, you know what, you just helped kill my mom."
She said she will continue speaking out, hoping to prevent someone else from going through the pain her family's dealing with.