An Arlington woman said she is warning others to take COVID-19 seriously after her husband died last month from complications from the virus. She said initially they didn't think the virus was real, but her perspective has changed.
"My husband and I at the time, we didn’t believe it and now that he’s gone, I do take this serious now because I lost a family member," said Stephanie Valdez whose husband died from complications of COVID-19.
Mark Lakins, 57, was a pastor, musician, and worked in the transportation industry. He was a husband, father and grandfather.
“At times I do feel like he’s around, he’s still here, it’s still hard to accept that he’s gone," said Stephanie Valdez, Mark's wife.
The latest news from around North Texas.
She said on June 19 they tested positive for COVID-19 after a family member visited their home.
"Because she was family, I said, 'Sure why not just come on over,' and she was only here for 30 minutes and left for work. I get a call the next day that she’s running a real high fever and so decided to go get tested and it came back positive," Valdez explained.
She said she didn't really experience any symptoms, but her husband spiked a fever and was coughing a week later. On June 27, Valdez said Lakins woke up struggling to breathe.
"He asked me if I would call for help for him because he couldn't breathe. I called the ambulance to come and get him and they rushed him to the hospital and as soon as they got him to the hospital, they immediately sedated him and inserted a breathing tube, which was a ventilator," Valdez explained.
Lakins would spend the next several weeks at Medical City Arlington Hospital according to Valdez.
“I was able to go up there and see him through a glass by his door and see him, and that was the day he passed, which was July 24," Valdez said.
She said they made the decision to take him off the ventilator.
“I just felt like it wasn’t his time to go, but he developed double pneumonia, and his lungs were really bad the doctors said there was no saving him," Valdez explained.
On Aug. 1 friends and family held a memorial for Lakins who leaves behind his wife, three kids, grandchildren and friends.
"There’s times where I feel like he’s still in the hospital getting better. I wait by my phone thinking, am I going to get a call from him? A Text?" Valdez said.
Valdez said she works as a dispatcher for a transportation company and so did her husband for a different company, but they were both furloughed due to the pandemic.
"Now that he’s gone, I’ve had to move out of my house with my three children into a one-bedroom at my mother’s house," Valdez said. "Not to mention we had two vehicles, but I had to send one back because I couldn't afford one, and now I’m having issues with my current vehicle, the transmission is going out, on top of losing my home and losing my husband."
Friends set up a gofundme account for the family to help pay for funeral and medical costs.