11-year-old COVID patient remembers his grandpa who died of the virus

Local News

We’ve heard from adults who have had COVID-19 and recovered, but never from a young child.

Wednesday we hear from 11-year-old Elija Van Vooren.

He tested positive for coronavirus earlier this spring.

As you’re about to see having the virus, which he says made him feel really sick, isn’t what pains him the most.

“I was very, very scared,” Elija Van Vooren said.

11-year-old Elija Van Vooren tested positive for COVID-19. Even at his young innocent age, he was thinking the worst.

“I was very worried, and I was crying a lot, because I didn’t want to have a tube down my throat or not make it,” Elija said.

Those fears may have been brought on by watching his grandpa, 57-year-old Paul Van Vooren, suffer through his own battle with COVID.

Paul, who had been on a ventilator, died on June 12th.

Elija says he’s feeling much better these days, physically, but emotionally he hurts inside; missing his grandpa.

“Me and him would always hang out,” Elija said. “He was pretty much my best friend, my big brother; mostly my big brother.”

Paul and his wife Karen had custody of Elija from the day he was born. They were actually in the process of adopting him.

“That was Paul’s wish, he wanted to be his dad,” Karen said.

Karen says Paul and Elija did so many things together.

Elija says he’ll always cherish the days of camping with grandpa and going to the races together.

“I pretty much enjoyed it and he did too, I really think he enjoyed me going there with him,

They both say it’ll be hard now without Paul being around to help raise Elija and provide that father figure for him; to have those sit-down father and son talks.

“It just felt different, because of the virus going around, so it’s like weird not seeing him, plus we thought we were all good and safe, but we don’t even know how we got it,” Elija said.

But he does know this, Elija says when he got the virus, he had an angel looking over him.

“Somehow God and papa was with me, mostly probably papa,” Elija said.

Elija’s adoption will be official on September 8th.

They are hoping the legal documents will say he is the son of Paul Van Vooren.

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