Pell City woman loses uncle to COVID-19

Local News

PELL CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — A Pell City woman is opening up about losing her uncle after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

The family of James Edward Christians tells CBS 42 the 52-year-old recently died in his home state of Washington after returning from traveling to Florida.

“He was a very talented musician and he was an avid outdoorsman. He introduced me to the joys of nature and hiking,” said Christians’ niece, Courtney Cook.

Cook is sharing her uncle’s story in hopes that others begin to heed warnings from health leaders.

According to Cook, her loved ones’ condition declined quickly and he developed acute respiratory distress because of COVID-19.

“He was sedated and paralyzed in order for the ventilator to do its job, which was to provide oxygen, but also to remove carbon dioxide from his lungs,” said Cook.

Aside from asthma, that Cook said was controlled, her uncle was otherwise healthy. As she watches others not adhering to stay at home orders, she wants families to consider what happened to her family.

“This is serious. The problem with COVID is we don’t know who it will affect. You could be asymptomatic, you could land in the ICU like my uncle, and we don’t know how it would affect each of us individually,” Cook said.

Due to the contagious virus, the family is forced to grieve apart, separated by more than 2,000 miles. The loss is especially hard on Cook’s aunt.

“She lost her soulmate. Her heart is broken. She didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to him. Because he tested positive for COVID, she was put into quarantine, so she wasn’t even able to be at the hospital with him,” Cook said.

As of now, there are no planned services for a man who meant so much to so many people. Christians’ family isn’t sure when they’ll be able to have a memorial under the circumstances. His loved ones continues to cherish memories, hoping other families don’t have to endure their pain.

“By not following stay at home orders, people are rolling the dice. Not just for their own health, but for the health and safety of others around them,” said Cook.

James Christians loved to visit Alabama, Cook said. He leaves behind a stepson and several nieces and nephews.


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