A Chicago family mourns the loss of a young mother due to the city’s poor air quality caused by Canadian wildfires, urging others to take the dangers seriously.
A Young Mother Dies From Hazardous Air Quality
In the midst of a smoky summer in Chicago, one family is sharing a tragic story to raise awareness about the hazardous air quality resulting from Canadian wildfires.
A young mother, leaving behind two children, lost her life due to the lingering effects of the city’s poor air conditions. Marybel Gonzalez of CBS 2 brings us the family’s heartfelt warning, exclusively on Channel 2.
While the Chicago skyline has gradually cleared over the past two weeks, when smoke from the wildfires cast a shadow over the city, the aftermath of the environmental crisis still reverberates.
Diana Mercado vividly recalls the severity of the situation, describing how she had to wear a mask inside her car due to the difficulty she experienced in breathing.
“I’m Really Feeling Bad. I Don’t Know. I Can’t Breathe”
The consequences, however, extend far beyond temporary discomfort. Mercado’s daughter, Destiny, had been battling asthma since the age of five.
Despite taking precautions and advising her daughter to stay indoors, their air conditioning system developed a crack, allowing the compromised air quality to infiltrate their home.
Despite the family’s efforts to protect Destiny, the poor air quality proved overwhelming for her fragile respiratory system.
Mercado recounts Destiny’s struggles, saying, “She was telling me, ‘I’m really feeling bad. I don’t know. I can’t breathe.'”
She Fought for Her Life
Destiny was rushed to the hospital but was discharged a few days later, which had become somewhat routine for the 26-year-old.
However, this time was different. Mercado reveals, with a heavy heart, “She’s been sick before and she’s gone and came back home after three days, but this time was back-to-back. She’s never gone back-to-back to the hospital like that.”
Tragically, Destiny fought for her life throughout the night on Friday and Saturday until 10:17 p.m., when she passed away. The medical professionals informed the family that they had exhausted all available treatment options.
Left behind are Destiny’s two young sons, struggling to comprehend their loss. Mercado shares the heartbreaking words of her younger grandson, who repeatedly asks, “When am I going to get to see my mom?”
Overwhelmed With Sorrow
As a grieving grandmother, Mercado now assumes the responsibility of caring for her grandchildren.
Overwhelmed with sorrow, she reflects, “If I would have known this was going to happen, I would have taken the air conditioners out the window and just shut them completely because now I’m without my child.”
Although the immediate threat has diminished for now, the possibility of unhealthy air quality resurfacing in Chicago remains a very real concern. The Canadian government has already indicated its expectation of more wildfires throughout the year.
Mercado implores everyone to take this threat seriously, emphasizing, “So I advise people to really listen to it because people do die from it. No, these things are not fake. They are real and they do hurt families.”
Time to Prioritize Environmental Awareness
The heart-wrenching experience of this Chicago family serves as a stark reminder of the life-threatening consequences of poor air quality caused by wildfires.
It is a call to action for individuals, communities, and authorities to prioritize environmental awareness and take proactive steps to mitigate the harmful effects of air pollution, safeguarding the well-being of future generations.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.
Source: CBS News