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9-year-old triplets lose mother to COVID-19 complications

"That’s the person who’s got your back, you know," said Donald Long, opening up about his wife's 3-month battle with the coronavirus.

DALLAS — It is that moment when your love grows, in this case by three times, that defines your life.

It’s a joy Donald and AnaLise Long shared together.

“All we have is family,” Donald said. “That’s all we have family and friends.”

The east Dallas father of triplets told WFAA he will watch his now 9-year-old daughters grow up without the physical presence of their mother and his closest soul.

“That’s the person who’s got your back, you know,” Donald said. “You can trust them with anything.”

Donald says nothing in his 17-year marriage to AnaLise could have prepared them for the last three months -- when in late March the 47-year-old acquired the coronavirus that led to COVID-19.

AnaLise, who had meningitis two years ago, fought through this infection too. The fever subsided, so did the shortness of breath. Donald says his wife even tested negative six times for COVID and was released from the hospital to begin physical therapy at a rehabilitation facility.

By the Centers for Disease Control definition, AnaLise was a COVID-19 recovery. It wasn’t long lasting.

Credit: Donald Long
AnaLise Long in an undated photo with her triplet daughters.

While AnaLise worked on her rehabilitation, organ failure set in.

“Her liver and kidneys never did recover,” Donald said.

Donald says her team of doctors quickly worked to get her a screening, to see if she would be eligible for a liver transplant.  The effort came as the surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations grew in North Texas in late June.

“They called at the last minute and said ‘we don’t have any beds open’ and you’re just like ‘you got to be kidding me’,” Donald recalls.

After fighting for three months, AnaLise lost her battle three weeks ago.

“And that was the hardest thing,” Donald said. “She gave it her all.”

Now Donald says the love and strength she instilled in her three daughters will help him going forward too. And he hopes AnaLise’s story will help us keep each other in mind, masked up, distanced and safe.

“Listen to the doctors, listen to your heart and use common sense,” he said.

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