‘God, are you with me?’ Family of 14-year-old struck by COVID-19 leans on faith

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 6:21 PM EDT
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SYLVANIA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A severe case of COVID-19 is a challenge itself, but when you’re only 14 years old and going into cardiac shock, Jayden Parrish calls it the biggest challenge, one he didn’t know if he’d defeat.

“The fever, the chills, the cough, shortness of the breath, vomiting, all of that," said Jayden’s mom, Ashley White.

“It was just scary because there was like so much going on," Parrish said.

It’s been about two weeks of recovery for Parrish -- not just repairing his health, but restoring their faith.

“I felt like I was losing," Parrish said.

“Like, ‘God, are you with me?’” White said.

Parrish is used to obstacles -- he’s faced many on the football field.

But this time, with an opponent like COVID, he was forced to the sidelines.

“I couldn’t do nothing at all," Parrish said. “I was really sick. It was just a lot."

The Sylvania natives called a Savannah hospital ICU home for more than a week. It was there Jayden could not breathe on his own or even be on his own.

“We were definitely praying really hard because even the doctors were like, we’re not sure, we’re doing what we can," White said.

Severe cases like the 14-year-old’s are still uncommon in kids, Georgia health data shows.

COVID-19 trends also reveal rural counties make up much of the state’s emerging hotspots now, including Screven, Bulloch, Emanuel, and Hancock in our area.

Rural counties are many of South Carolina’s hotspots, too, with the cases rising in and around their town. White says she was not surprised COVID hit home.

Instead, surprised at the severity of it.

“The cardiac shock was just a state of like, ‘Oh, my God, is my son going to make it?’" White said.

Through trial and error with getting medicines into his system, Parrish left the ICU after nine days.

The virus left Parrish with long-term issues affecting his heart and his breathing.

White says he’ll have to see physical and respiratory therapists plus a cardiologist.

The football player won’t be focused on offense anytime soon. He says the work that matters most is all on the defensive line now.

“I just gotta hold off this season," Parrish said. “I just got to recover and think about my health right now."

“I needed God to come in and do the work," White said. “I believe God did that for my child."

If you would like to donate or help the Parrish family, click here for more information.

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