An unvaccinated single mother in Florida has died from COVID-19, and her family is now urging others to get their shots.
Cindy Dawkins, 50, of Boynton Beach, passed away on August 7, just two days after being admitted to the hospital due to complications with the virus.
Dawkins, who was born in the Bahamas, was set to finalize paperwork to complete the process of becoming an American citizen when she fell ill.
She leaves behind four children, aged 12 to 24, who are now facing struggles as they hope to keep the family together in the wake of their mother’s death.
Cindy Dawkins (pictured), 50, died of COVID-19 on August 7 after being hospitalized with the virus only two days before
Dawkins, was was unvaccinated, is survived by her four children, who are now urging others to get vaccinated to protect from the tragedy that struck their family. Pictured: Dawkins with her four children
Many Americans are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccines, due to concerns over side-effects – whether false or not – and misinformation about them spread on social media.
‘I think she wasn’t sure about the vaccine, and we followed the rules and kept our masks on,’ Tre Burrows, 20, Dawkins’ second oldest child, told Good Morning America (GMA).
‘Now seeing how it happened and how quickly it happened, it definitely changed our perspective. Getting a vaccine helps more than any damage it could do.’
Tre, alongside his siblings Jenny, 24; Zoey, 15; Sierra, 12; are working to pick up the pieces in the wake of their mother’s death.
‘Even when we were younger, [our mom] would tell us that we were brothers and sisters and we had to look after each other,’ Jenny told GMA.
‘Right now we’re in survival mode trying to make sure that everything gets done.’
‘…we’re trying to stay on top of everything because we don’t want to disappoint [our mother].’
As the two adult siblings, Jenny and Trey are bearing the load to take care of their younger sisters.
‘We’re making sure everything is set for our sisters, that they have a good foundation,’ said Tre.
‘We’re doing exactly what our mother was doing.’
Janie Rosenberg Yoshida, a family friend whose daughter attended school with Tre, has started a GoFundMe for the children to assist them in the wake of their mother’s death.
Tre (left), 20, and Jenny Burrows (right), 24, are working to keep the family together and support their two younger siblings in the wake of Dawkins’s (center) death
The children say they plan on using money raised via GoFundMe, more than $20,000, to purchase a home so the children can continue living together. Pictured: Dawkins with her four children
‘Cindy was a loving single mother of [four] who came to this country from the Bahamas to achieve the American Dream,’ Yoshida wrote in a letter attached to the GoFundMe page.
‘She worked [two] jobs, made sure her kids were fed, clothed, and went to school every day, while at one point even having to live in hotels for years just to keep from being homeless.
‘She taught a strong work ethic and strong values to her children and to always help others when they can.
‘…And now, cruel, relentless COVID-19 has heartbreakingly, quickly and unapologetically taken another life, leaving behind 4 children to now struggle to not only stay together as a family, but to also somehow strive and thrive through this grief to make their beloved mother proud.’
Yoshida told GMA that she met the family when she saw Tre walking home from school to the hotel his family lived in at the time.
She offered him a ride home, and after befriending the family, assisted them in finding an apartment to live in.
The GoFundMe has raised over $23,000 as of Friday morning.
The children told GMA that they plan to use the funds to place a down payment on a house that they can live in together.
‘We are so grateful to everybody,’ said Tre.
‘I know [our mom] is so happy that we are sticking together the way that we are and not letting a tragedy separate us.’
Cindy is one of nearly 42,000 Floridians that has died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Around 38 percent of the state remains unvaccinated, though vaccine demand in the state is on the rise with an average of 78,137 administered on Thursday, the highest June 23, according to federal data.
Florida is currently recording more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases every day, the most of any state.