NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the lieutenant governor of Minnesota, Peggy Flanagan was well-aware of the seriousness surrounding the COVID-19 virus.
The coronavirus became even more personal for her when her older brother was diagnosed and later died from the virus.
“I want to make sure that his death is not in vain,” Flanagan told News 2.
Her 56-year-old brother Ron Golden was the second person to die of COVID-19 in Tennessee, when he passed away over the weekend.
“He was a sergeant in the Marines, but beneath that tough exterior, he was just so warm and gentle and caring,” Flanagan said.
Golden’s death came just weeks after his cancer diagnosis.
She explained, “he had his first cancer treatment and then he went home and he was later admitted to the hospital because he wasn’t feeling very well, and a few short days later was diagnosed with COVID.”
Her brother’s condition quickly deteriorated.
“It wasn’t until he was placed in a medically-induced coma and placed on a ventilator that we realized how serious this was,” Flanagan revealed.
Her brother was pronounced dead Saturday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“The first thing that went through my head was that we wouldn’t get the chance to say goodbye,” Flanagan said.
She added, “I expect that very shortly, my personal story of losing a loved one will not be unique, as we are seeing folks across the country who are losing loved ones to COVID-19.”
While Flanagan grieves the death of her brother, she said she will also work to spread a message about the importance of staying home and social distancing to keep others safe.
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