July 23, 2018 04:20 PM

A Minnesota mother died on July 14 from a rare E. coli infection that also killed her young daughter four years ago.

Karen Odens, 39, contracted the infection when she was caring for her 4-year-old daughter, Sophia, in 2014, her father, Ed Welke, told The Star Tribune. Sophia had been hospitalized with the infection. Odens was then forced to quit her job when unstable blood pressure damaged her kidneys to the point that she had to go on dialysis.

On February 5, 2014, Sophia came down with flu-like symptoms at home in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota. The next morning, Odens and her husband, Eric, took her to the hospital. Just a few days later, the young girl died, according to The Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Karen Odens
Karen Odens/Facebook

The family believes that Odens, who also has a son, contracted the infection while she was caring for her daughter in the hospital.

Twin Cities Pioneer Press said that Odens, a pharmacist for 10 years, will be remembered as someone “with a gentle smile who could melt the hearts of those around her.”

Karen Oden with daughter Sophia
Karen Odens/Facebook

Along with struggling from PTSD after Sophia’s death, Odens was also hospitalized 30 times because of the infection. The family was never able to figure out what Sophia ate that caused her to initially come down with the E. coli O157 strain, according to The Star Tribune.

Odens and Sophia were extremely close, Welke told The Star Tribune, and did everything from fishing to dressing up for Halloween together.

She “enjoyed helping other people and gardening, spending time with family and friends and fishing,” read part of her obituary. 

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