4-Year-Old Girl Gets Celebratory Send-Off From Hospital After 9-Month COVID Battle

Jason Duaine Hahn
·3 min read

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A 4-year-old girl who has been hospitalized since early 2020 after being diagnosed with COVID-19 is finally home.

Stella Martin was released from the University of New Mexico Hospital last month following her nine-month battle with COVID-19, the facility announced with a video posted to social media. The footage showed Stella being wheeled to the hospital's exit as healthcare workers clap and cheer her on.

"After a severe bout with COVID-19, 4-year-old Stella Martin is leaving UNM Hospital," the hospital said. "Stella came into the hospital in April after contracting COVID-19. She spent over 5 months in the Pediatric ICU and arrived in the CTH Acute Service in October."

"We celebrate her recovery and the hard work and dedication of our health care team who work tirelessly to help patients like her," they added.

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According to Good Morning America, Stella — who has asthma, a condition known to cause severe symptoms for people infected with coronavirus — was first diagnosed with the disease in April when she complained of pain in her back.

Once she was taken to the hospital, doctors discovered she had transverse myelitis — inflammation of the spinal cord.

"They said since COVID was an infection, that the good antibodies were attacking her spinal system when fighting off the COVID virus," her mother, Cassandra Yazzie, told the outlet. "The next morning, she was positive [for COVID-19]."

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The young girl's lungs later collapsed and she fell into a weeks-long coma. It's believed Stella contracted the disease from her father, who died of COVID-19 complications in April.

"With her dad passing, and my dad's passing [unrelated to COVID-19], I had no time to break down, and that's what I did with her and her sister," Yazzie told GMA. "We've been fighting for this and training for her to come home. She loves being in the same bed as me, going in the living room and sitting on the couch. She loves being home."

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The family started a GoFundMe page for Stella to use "for whatever she needs," and has so far raised over $32,000.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been more than 26.5 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to a New York Times database. There have also been 448,759 coronavirus-related deaths in the country, with numbers rising every day.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.