At sixty-four years old, Stella Moreno was a firecracker.
She loved Halloween especially office costume contests while working at AZDES for nearly two decades.
“She had no shame in wearing anything, I don’t care what it was,” said her son Johnny Farias. "She just wanted to win and her coworkers loved to see what she'd come up with."
She also sported outfits of pride, like a pink t-shirt honoring her grandson's military service, reading “proud Air Force grandma.”
She was the center of a huge family, one now mourning her loss.
“It’s taking away everyone, it’s taking away the people that are the strongest people you’ve ever known. It’s taking away the people that... the superwomen, the supermen,” said Farias with tears running down his cheeks.
Farias says his mom faced off with the coronavirus not once but twice.
Despite liver disease, she beat it the first time, getting a negative test result weeks after contracting the disease.
“God I was so relieved because when I heard she had it, because of her underlying conditions, that was my biggest fear, my mom’s not gonna make it,” said Farias.
Sadly the joy was short-lived.
Stella would get it again, but again, she beat it.
“I was so happy when the test came back negative again, but I could tell it took a toll,” said Farias. “It attacks your immune system, it attacks your lungs, it attacks your functions it attacks everything and just because you overcome it and you're cured of it, doesn’t mean the damage wasn’t already done.”
This week, Stella passed away.
Farias and his family have already laid to rest their Aunt who died from the virus in August.
They’re also mourning the loss of a close friend who succumbed to the disease as well.
When he hears people dismiss the deaths as folks who were going to die anyway due to underlying conditions, his heart breaks.
“How do you say that about somebody else,” said Farias through tears.
Even as they’ve faced so much loss, they have hope.
Hope, Stella and so many others won’t be relegated to number on a graph, but remembered for the lives they touched. Right now, his message is simple.
“Do what you can to protect the next person,” said Farias. “Wear a mask, be considerate, let’s make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else’s family.”
If you would like to donate to Stella’s end of life expenses, click here: https://gf.me/u/yy6gyk