Danielle N. Frank-Sasiadek, 39, a mother of two, including an 11-year-old son, was among the exceptions, one of only five Erie County residents under 40 to die from the virus.
She died April 21 at Sisters of Charity Hospital, a few days after her family was told she tested positive, said her daughter, Marissa Frank-Sasiadek, a 19-year-old college freshman.
Frank-Sasiadek had persevered for almost two decades with Charcoth-Marie-Tooth disease, a hereditary neurological disorder that left her in constant pain. Years ago, she quit her job selling insurance through M&T Bank because she was physically unable to climb the stairs to her office building.
Despite her health problems, Frank-Sasiadek made it to as many of her children’s school music events and awards ceremonies and her son’s Boy Scout events as she could, and celebrated their birthdays and holidays with parties featuring cool treats and prizes, her daughter said.
When Marissa Frank-Sasiadek entered Niagara University to study nursing last August, she said her mom was excited to go to the campus with her on moving-in day.
There was romance in her life, too. Frank-Sasiadek had become engaged to a high school classmate, Edward Glinski. A wedding date had not been picked.
But on April 9, an ambulance rushed Frank-Sasiadek to Sisters Hospital after her family feared she had suffered a stroke, her daughter said.
“Her speech was slurred and garbled. She couldn’t control her movements. Her hands and arms were all over the place,” said Frank-Sasiadek’s mother, Rhonda Frank. “I kept saying, ‘Danielle, what’s wrong?’ She kept saying, ‘Help me, mom. I don’t know what’s wrong.”https://buffalonews.com/”
For days, doctors told her family that Frank-Sasiadek had encephalopathy – her brain was not functioning normally – but they didn’t know why.
“We at first all had hope,” Marissa Frank-Sasiadek said. “She was in the hospital again, she’ll get better like she always had. We thought she was a fighter and she would get through this.”
But on April 19, the Erie County Health Department called Frank and told her that Frank-Sasiadek had tested positive for Covid-19. By that time, she was in a medically induced coma and a ventilator was keeping her alive.
“I don’t know how long she had the virus,” Frank said. “That keeps me awake at night. Where did she get this?”
Frank-Sasiadek’s mother and younger sister, Nicole Frey of West Seneca, were allowed to visit her for 15 minutes in the ICU, wearing protective gear.
Marissa Frank-Sasiadek said she and her brother were unable to even talk to her mom on the phone until she was already in a coma.
“A nurse held the phone up to her ears,” Marissa Frank-Sasiadek said. “The nurse said, ‘Keep talking to her, she can hear you.’ That was how my brother and I said good-bye to her. We said ‘we love you, you’re going to be OK.”https://buffalonews.com/”
At the small funeral service, the casket was kept closed as a precaution.
“I tell people who aren’t taking Covid-19 precautions that I had to say goodbye to my mom in a cellphone call,” Marissa Frank-Sasiadek said. “Earlier today, I saw a group of people standing together outside a church. I was like, ‘Do you not understand the severity of this?’
“You don’t know who has this,” she said of the virus.