Hi, my name is Rachel; I am the godmother "Nina" of Erica's youngest daughter Avery. Avery was born extremely premature at 21.6 weeks gestation, and I was Avery's NICU nurse. Avery was a little fighter from the beginning; she only weighed 350 grams (12oz) at birth and was initially only given a 5% chance of living and an unpredicted long-term quality of life. Erica and Michael (Avery's father) had no idea what would become of their youngest daughter; they just knew their faith was strong, and together they were stronger as a couple. Their NICU journey lasted over seven months, and in that time, Alex (Avery's godfather) and I were asked to be part of Avery's primary care team and then her godparents. During that time, I got extremely close to Erica. Avery was born during the pandemic and our NICU at the time had strict visitation regulations. I would send pictures and videos (with Erica's permission) directly to Erica, and we would often chat about how she was doing each day. After Avery was discharged, we both remained extremely close to Erica and Michael and got to know them more personally. We were introduced to their other kids: Michael jr (currently 14), Eric (12), Michaela (11), Madison (deceased), and then Avery (2.5). We become part of their family. We got to see what amazing parents they were outside of the NICU. Erica and Michael have had many hardships besides their NICU stay with Avery. Michaela, their eldest daughter, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at two years of life, and their middle daughter Madison passed away at 28 weeks gestation. Each of these hardships has made their 17 years together even more unbreakable.
Erica is a doting mother, fiance, sister and daughter. She ALWAYS went above and beyond for her kids and put their needs before her own needs and wants. Her children kept her extremely busy, especially when Avery was discharged from the NICU and Michaela's diagnosis. She was always running around to different doctors' appointments, occupational therapy appointments, physical therapy appointments, ophthalmology appointments, pulmonologist appointments and GI appointments. She was always on the go but always had time to devote herself to her family and be the amazing mother she was. She was the most patient, selfless and loving person I knew despite all the constant stress she endured.
On Tuesday, September 20th, Erica suffered from a massive stroke at home. (exactly two years after her brother tragically passed away) Her nephew EJ noticed something that seemed off with Erica and called 911. She was rushed directly into the operating room for emergency surgery.
She was declared brain dead on Thursday, September 22, and the family decided to donate her organs UNLESS we receive a miracle from God and she wakes up.
First of all, I ask for prayers. Prayers for Erica, prayers for her fiance Michael, prayers for her kids, and prayers for Erica's parents (for already losing one child two years ago.)
PLEASE KEEP THIS WHOLE FAMILY IN YOUR PRAYERS. They have endured SO much loss and heartache over the last several years they don't deserve for this unimaginable thing to happen to them. Erica is not only the glue to their family; she is their rock. Michael doesn't deserve to lose his fiance of 17 years, and Michael jr, Eric, Michaela and Avery don't deserve to grow up without a mom. So please, please keep them all in your prayers!
Secondly, the last thing they need to worry about is bills. The last thing Michael needs to worry about is keeping his family afloat financially while they go through such a horrible time. His kids need his attention, love and support right now. Alex and I helped with what we could, but now I am asking all of you for your help. If any of you can help them out, ANY amount would be SO appreciated by them. If you cannot donate anything, PLEASE keep them in your prayers.
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for taking the time to read this. It just breaks my heart to write this. Not only is Erica my goddaughter's mother, but she also grew to be my dear friend, and I pray so badly for her to wake up and return to her family!!!