Mother of 6 Dies of Coronavirus Following Early Birth of Twins: 'It Hurts So Much,' Says Husband
"You really don't know how much and how real it is until it really hits hard close to home and somebody's taken from you," Manuel Medina said after his wife's death
Six children, including two newborn twins, are now without their mother after she succumbed to coronavirus complications last month.
According to a GoFundMe set up for her family, 36-year-old Veronica Bernal of Arizona was pregnant with twins when she was diagnosed with the disease just after Christmas. With her condition worsening, doctors eventually decided to deliver her babies eight weeks early to "give her a better chance of surviving," but Bernal tragically died of the disease a few weeks later on Jan. 25, the campaign organizer wrote.
She leaves behind her husband, Manuel Medina, their three children and three other children from a previous relationship.
"Manuel has continued to work to provide for his family financially, leaving him no time to grieve for his loss," a description on the donation page reads. "The goal is to help bless Manuel, [and their children] Christopher, Manuel Jr., and Mariyah (when they get home from the hospital) during this difficult time."
Manuel told FOX affiliate KSAZ the decision to deliver the twins early was made because of a lack of oxygen and the overall impact of the disease on his wife, who was placed on a ventilator prior to her death.
"It hurts so much because there was nothing I could do," he told the news station.
Manuel now has to care for the twins and their 10-month old son on his own.
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"He is in need of support to provide for his babies," the GoFundMe description reads. "He is also in need of a work truck and tools to get a better job for this long journey they have ahead of them."
The donation page has raised nearly $20,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.
According to a New York Times database, more than 27.1 million people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the United States so far, a figure that represents a 36 percent decrease in cases over the last two weeks. More than 466,625 Americans have died from the virus as of Tuesday, the outlet reported.
"You really don't know how much and how real it is until it really hits hard close to home and somebody's taken from you," Manuel told KSAZ.
According to the outlet, the twins — Manuel Jr. and Mariyah — are expected to be released from the hospital in the next few days.
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 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.