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Ohio Woman's Family 'Destroyed' After Virus Kills Both Her Parents And Her Brother, And Leaves Her Husband On Life Support

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The virus has now killed over 56,000 people worldwide and over 6,000 in the U.S. alone.

With those numbers rising every day, more and more people are forced to count themselves as one of those directly impacted by the pandemic.


It is tragic for everybody, of course. But few have been dealt as severe a blow as one woman in Ohio, whose family has been all but wiped out by the disease.

Kelley Bonkey Billups, of Ohio, has lost a majority of the people closest to her in a matter of days, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

The virus first took her brother, 51-year-old David Conkey. Three days later, Billups' mother and father died within hours of each other.

All three of them had pre-existing health conditions.

Now, her husband, Don Billups, clings to life on a ventilator. The 51-years-old initially tested negative for the virus, though his current condition has doctors identifying the virus as the clear and likely culprit. The results of a second test remain pending.

Billups spoke with The Columbus Dispatch—from quarantine in her own home—about the impossible emotions she feels as a result of the tragic few days.

"It's like a nightmare. It's like ... knowing that a big winter storm is blowing in and you get prepared and you hunker down and you just wonder how bad it's going to get, how long it's going to last, and what happens when it's all over and how you dig yourself out."
"But I don't know how to dig myself out now."

Billups' daughter, Katie Garbrandt, told NBC4 Columbus that she and Billups were given permission to visit her parents at the hospital during their final moments.

Of course, hospital visits are a very rare thing while the virus continues to overwhelm medical facilities across the United States, and fears of any unnecessary spread abound.

Garbrandt told NBC4 about both the logistics and emotions of the parting visit.

"We were all gowned, all gloved, all masked."
"They met us at the door and escorted us the whole way through and they've been very, very supportive, very compassionate the entire time."
"We're hanging in there. We've gotten a lot of prayers, support and love from all of our family, friends, several people we don't know as well as the hospital, and that's really what's keeping us going."

The story gave the internet some pause, and sympathetic messages were shared.

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Kelley Conkey Billups, during that conversation with The Columbus Dispatch, made sure to offer advice to everyone she could:

"Most importantly, I want people to understand the urgency of staying home and social distancing."
"That's what I want to drive home. I want to spare another family the pain and trauma that we are living."