EL PASO, Texas – A 43-year-old El Paso mom that went viral after sharing her terrifying battle with COVID-19 on social media has died, according to a report from TODAY.
Sara Montoya posted a video on Facebook that has been viewed by over 6 million users, urging people to take the virus seriously and to wear their face masks.
As she is heard gasping for breath throughout the video, Montoya pleads for everyone to wear their masks as she shares her own battle with the virus. The video is posted below:
Posted by Sara Montoya on Sunday, July 5, 2020
The video was posted to Facebook on July 5, which was around the time that COVID-19 cases and deaths were surging across the state of Texas.
At the end of June, Montoya felt sick with what she assumed was a sinus infection, according to TODAY’s report. However, as her symptoms progressed, she visited a local hospital and was sent home because she didn’t have COVID-19 symptoms.
Montoya was initially diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, but she still went and got tested for COVID-19 anyway, according to TODAY.
While waiting for her results, she had “unbearable fevers” and her husband later called for an ambulance, TODAY reports. Montoya was admitted on July 1 and that’s when she learned she was positive for COVID-19.
Montoya was in the hospital at the time of the video, and as she is heard struggling for her breath, she told people just how crucial it is to follow the health guidelines and stay safe.
“Never in my life did I ever think that I would be fighting for my breath, something that we take for granted every day when we wake up,” Montoya said in the video. “It is not worth it. Put your masks on. Don’t go out if you don’t have to. I have fought too hard to have the life that I have now, and I refuse to give up... With the grace of God, I will be walking out of this hospital. I don’t know when, but I will.”
By July 3, Montoya’s husband was also hospitalized, according to TODAY. Although she required oxygen for the first part of her stay at the hospital, she was eventually intubated.
According to TODAY’s report, Montoya’s condition continued to worsen and she died from the virus on Aug. 13.
Montoya’s daughter, Jasmin Chavez, 24, told TODAY that she is grateful her mother posted the video, even though at first she wanted her to take it down. Now, she said she’s grateful her mom shared such an important message.
“I am glad she didn’t listen to me. Her video has been viewed over 5 million times and I’m glad people realize this virus is real,” Chavez said in an email interview with TODAY. “I really thought she’d be coming home with an oxygen machine. My family still needed her. I just want our community to take the virus seriously.”