A dedicated teacher of special needs students for nearly 20 years, beloved sister, daughter, wife, and friend Michelle Branco was hospitalized due to COVID-19 on January 13, 2022. She and her husband, Charles Cottrell, had both fought through high fevers and painful symptoms of coronavirus for almost a week when Michelle's oxygen levels plummeted. Charles took her to be admitted to INOVA Fair Oaks on their 15th wedding anniversary. Michelle was in the fight of her life: she was experiencing a worsening of her diabetic condition, major heart event (myocardial infarction), near kidney failure, and acute hypoxemic respiratory failure. She was given excellent care during her stay through many close calls, including another plunge in her oxygen levels that landed her in the PCU. She was finally released after 15 days in the hospital on January 27, 2022.
Michelle now faces a long recovery: doctors estimate it will take her over a year to regain functionality like normal movement and cognition. However, there is much unknown about long-term recovery from COVID-19. The impact on her health will most likely be permanent, with many elements taking years to approach her pre-virus levels of functionality. Her family also faces mounting hospital bills and the burden of expenses necessary for her health that simply did not exist in their budget before this tragedy.
Her friends and family are asking you to donate what you can to help us reach our goal of aiding Michelle in her recovery. She is an incredible educator who has devoted her life to giving her students the best opportunity to thrive in a challenging world. She has seen her family through medical events, financial challenges, and heartbreak, from her mother's stroke recovery for over ten years to supporting her sisters through housing and child care when she could. As a friend, she is a lifelong companion who will drop everything to comfort and aid you through difficult times or to share your joy in the good.
Please give what you can; every amount matters. What you donate will go towards Michelle's hospital bills, medications, medical equipment, and expenses related to her recovery. Team Michelle will update this page with what your donations go to!