‘She fought for me’: 15-year-old who asked Texas gov. for help mourns mother

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HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — In January, a McAllen teen wrote a letter to Governor Greg Abbott asking for help to get his mother COVID-19 treatment. After a long battle, Emilian Sosa’s mother died in May.

Sosa, 15, told KVEO seeing his mother, Erika Edith Calderon Reyes, fight for him will always mean the world to him.

“To see how my mom fought, she fought for me, she fought for all of our family to once again see us,” said Sosa. 

The letter Sosa wrote was shared on social media and eventually got the governor’s attention.

Governor Abbott responded to Sosa’s letter and confirmed on Twitter that the proper equipment would be offered to his mother.

His mother was transported to Houston from the Rio Grande Valley, where she received the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Therapy (ECMO) needed to fight COVID-19.

In February, Sosa told KVEO Calderon had started receiving the treatment but that it would take a few months for signs of a full recovery. There were bright signs of hope.

“She’s still in critical condition, but they’ve managed to stable her, which is good,” said Sosa at the time. “There are obstacles that might not let her recover or progress like she’s supposed to. She started opening her eyes and squeeze her hand. We’re taking it day by day.”

In April, Sosa gave an update on his mother’s condition.

“The doctors have been saying maybe that is time to let her, and go disconnect her,” said Sosa at the time. 

However, he did not give up hope because he knew early on his mom wanted to fight, adding his mother was asked if she wanted to keep fighting and she said “yes.”

Then on May 13, after almost four long and hopeful months of fighting COVID-19, Sosa said his mom passed away.

“We got a call from the hospital. They called my aunt and said that my mom got really sick and her condition got worse,” said Sosa. “Right around 8 o’clock, she passed away… her heart stopped.” 

Saying goodbye to his mother was extremely heartbreaking to Sosa, as he always hoped she would recover.

“We thought that my mom [was] gonna come back home, walk again, and do what she used to. So it was very heartbreaking for us to see, hear it and also see my mom after,” said Sosa. 

Rosa Gutierrez, who is now the legal guardian of Sosa, expressed how great of a mother her sister was.

“She taught me the right path to be successful, to be what is right in the community, and now it is wrong to avoid the wrongdoings. She said that nobody can substitute the place for my mom,” said Sosa, translating for Gutierrez. 

Sosa said his mother raised him well, and as a single mother, they will always have a strong bond. 

“[From] this day forward, I still look up to her, and she talked me through the right path, and if my mother was still here, she would still want me to do that,” said Sosa. 

Sosa said he wants to thank Governor Abbott and the community who supported him and his family during this time.

Sosa and his family are grappling with their loss and are asking the community for help . 

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for funeral expenses. 

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