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‘It got very real’: daughter of woman who died from coronavirus speaks out

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(WBNG) -- After a woman became the second victim of the coronavirus in Broome County, her family is now sending a desperate plea out to the public to take this pandemic seriously.

Ruth Harrington of Vestal was 93 years old when she passed away at Lourdes Hospital Tuesday, March 24 from effects of the coronavirus, just days after complaining of symptoms.

Her daughter, Sally Yablonsky, has since made it her mission to make sure the people of the Southern Tier understand the severity of this virus.

"It got very real to my family that this is real and it's right here in our household," said Yablonsky.

Ruth died from bilateral pneumonia that stemmed from the coronavirus. Sally says she was informed within minutes of her mother dying and could not believe her strong, healthy mother succumbed so quickly to the symptoms.

"I said my goodbyes and I told her, 'Mom, you're going to be okay.' I said, 'you're going to be okay, you're tough.' So that was the last we talked and the last words, both of us said we loved each other," said Yablonsky.

She knew she couldn't have a formal burial or funeral for her mother and had to turn to cremation as the ultimate decision. Sally says this virus robbed her and her family from having final moments with her mother and took away their chance of celebrating her life.

However, Sally is choosing action in her time of grief by sharing her message with the public, simply saying, "stay home."

She also started a GoFundMe page called Hugs for Rah Rah Rah in honor of Ruth to help organizations such as Vestal EMS, Lourdes Hospital, and other local small businesses in Broome and Tioga Counties.

Anne Sparaco

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