Christina Meredith said her daughter is an active teenager with no pre-existing conditions

By Katie Campione
January 21, 2021 10:45 PM
Katelynn Ramirez
Credit: gofundme

A Texas mom is speaking out about her healthy 15-year-old daughter's battle with COVID-19, in hopes that it will remind other parents that young people are at risk.

Christina Meredith's daughter, Katelynn Ramirez — an active cheerleader, volleyball player and runner with no pre-existing conditions — is still experiencing symptoms of the virus after being hospitalized in December, the mom told Good Morning America on Thursday.

Katelynn tested positive for coronavirus on December 22. Her family suspects that she was exposed at school, her mom said.

The teen's preliminary symptoms included a fever, an itchy throat, and a runny nose. However, by the next week her symptoms had worsened, Meredith said.

Katelynn Ramirez
Credit: gofundme

"On Dec. 28, I woke up and had to go to work that day," Meredith told GMA. "I peeked in to check on her...she said, 'I can't breathe.' We were on day 10 so I was hoping this fever would break."

At the local hospital, an X-ray revealed that Katelynn had developed pneumonia. The teen was brought to Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, Texas, where she was admitted for 13 days, according to her mom.

In 2012, the family lost Katelynn's sister to cystic fibrosis, so Meredith said she was not willing to take chances with her daughter's health.

Katelynn Ramirez
Credit: gofundme

"I was terrified. ...I work in the nursing field and I knew what could happen next," she said on GMA. "It was very hard for me but I had to hold it together for Katelynn. I think she looked for me for the strength, so I just held my composure. Deep down inside, I was thinking the worst."

Katelynn went home on January 8, according to her GoFundMe page. Meredith said she is still experiencing headaches, tingling in her legs, neurological issues and fatigue.

On Wednesday, another update on Katelynn's GoFundMe page shared that she was headed back to the hospital after some complications surfaced during her first physical therapy session.

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"Katelynn had her first physical therapy today and things did not go as expected. She is having a decrease in her heart rate and showing neurological concerns," the update read. "They went straight to her PCP, who consulted with her doctor at Dells. He wants her in ASAP. Kat is currently on her way to Dells children's Hospital. Prayers appreciated."

Meredith told GMA that she and Katelynn want her story to be a warning to others that young people with no pre-existing conditions are still at risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19.

"Katelynn wants to tell people to wear their mask and let them know that kids get sick," Meredith said. "Her main thing is it doesn't discriminate. It doesn't matter your age or gender."

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 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.