Family Mourning After 10-Year-Old Girl Dies Just Days After Getting COVID: 'It's Not Fair'

Teresa Sperry had no underlying conditions before getting COVID, her parents said

Teresa Sperry - Nicole Sperry
Nicole and Jeff Sperry. Photo: CNN/Twitter

A Virginia family is in mourning after their 10-year-old daughter died of COVID-19, just days after she started feeling sick.

Nicole and Jeff Sperry said their daughter Teresa had no underlying conditions, and first developed a headache on Sept. 22.

"We thought it was just a simple headache," Nicole told CNN. "I get headaches; migraines run in our family. We gave her medicine and she felt better. The next day, when she came home from school, she passed out, she went straight to bed, and she doesn't do that. She hasn't wanted to take a nap in a long time."

Teresa woke up from that nap with a fever, so they kept her home from her school in Suffolk the next day and called their pediatrician, who scheduled a COVID test and told them to keep her quarantined.

Just a few days later, on Sunday night, Teresa seemed to stop breathing and they rushed her to the hospital. The next afternoon, on Sept. 27, she died.

"She was healthy and strong. And it took her down in five days," Jeff said. "If it can take her, it can take anybody."

Nicole said Teresa "was a very caring person" who loved to help out at school.

"[I] always said that she was my mini-me. When she was born, she came out looking exactly like me," Nicole said. "None of my boys look like me. She had my same personality, my same smile. She made a point to make sure to make friends with everybody. She would wave and say hi to random people; compliment them on their hair, or their shirt. She just always thought of others."

Nicole and Jeff are both fully vaccinated, as are their two older sons who are old enough to be eligible, but Teresa and their 9-year-old boy were too young. Jeff has since developed a breakthrough case of COVID-19 that he's currently fighting, but wanted to speak with the media because he wants "to make sure this doesn't happen to other families."

RELATED VIDEO: Unvaccinated TikToker Who Died of COVID Spent Last Days Urging Followers to Get the Vaccine

Nicole said that the evening after Teresa died, their school board held a meeting where "there were people there that said, 'COVID is over,' that it doesn't affect healthy people, that it doesn't kill healthy people, that we could basically get on with our lives."

"If it was over, my daughter would still be here. We wouldn't be doing these interviews. We wouldn't be preparing for her funeral. And it upset me so much that people just are so nonchalant about it. While my only girl is gone," Nicole said, crying. "It's not fair."

The couple said they're sharing their story to encourage people to get vaccinated and protect the kids who can't do the same.

"The only way this makes sense is for her to save people," Jeff said. "I don't want other people to have to do what we're doing right now."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

Related Articles