UNT Student Who Dreamed of Being a Pediatrician Dies from COVID-19

Helen Etuk, 20, died after a three-month battle with COVID-19

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A student at the University of North Texas is among the youngest North Texans to die from the virus.

At the age of 20, Helen Etuk was already a senior at UNT, on track to achieve her dream of being a pediatrician.

“She loved kids and she just wanted to help,” said her brother, Jeff Ayisire.

The baby of her family, Etuk grew up in Arlington surrounded by siblings and a mom she called her twin.

“She wanted to get to a point in life where my mom doesn't have to work again,” Ayisire said.

After spending the spring semester learning online, Ayisire said his sister was ready to return to campus.

About halfway through fall semester, she got sick.

“We didn't know what it was but she was coughing super hard and it got to the point where she couldn't walk up the stairs,” he said.

A test confirmed Etuk had COVID-19.

She was admitted to Medical City Arlington where her condition kept getting worse.

“I was looking that way, she was progressing and she would get out soon,” Ayisire said. “Then one day, I don’t know what happened, but she just took a turn for the worse.”

After three months in the hospital, Etuk lost her battle with the virus in January, six weeks before her 21st birthday.

“I’ve called on Helen so many times and forgetting that she's gone. My mom has done it so many times. It’s more heartbreaking for my mom because, like I said, that was her twin," Ayisire said.

How she contracted the virus is unclear, but a previous Lupus diagnosis may have left her vulnerable to severe illness.

“I always play it back, maybe I couldn't do this, maybe I could've done that, my mom was also saying the same thing,” said Ayisire, a secondary victim to the virus.

A scholarship at UNT is being created in Etuk’s name. Click here for more information.

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