Courtesy Desiree Cornelio-Cady William ‘Ikaika’ Bailey and Desiree Cady
A California teenager, William ‘Ikaika’ Bailey had to fight for his life after contracting the coronavirus in mid-June.
Ikaika, 19, had recently graduated from high school, where he played on the football team and served as the homecoming king, his mom Desiree Cady told ABC. In June, he began feeling sick. A coronavirus test revealed that he had the virus.
“He would shiver and it was warm and then he would get hot when it was cold and then the fever and the cough. It was horrible,” Cady, of Merced, Calif., said.
After the standard 14 days, Ikaika was cleared of the coronavirus, but Cady said her son did not return to normal in the following weeks.
Gofundme Desiree Cady and William ‘Ikaika’ Bailey
Over the next two months, he lost 20 lbs. and did not seem like his former self. When his feet began swelling suddenly, Cady rushed him to the hospital.
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“They explained to me that that was a sign of heart failure,” she said.
He tested negative for the illness on August 8, which Cady told PEOPLE was likely a false negative, as he was positive two days later. At this point, Cady said doctors told her “he’s definitely not contagious” anymore but she’s “still unsure of exactly what happened.”
Once Ikaika was admitted, the doctors discovered that Ikaika had a hole in his heart, as well as two heart valves on the verge of failure. The hole in his heart had been there, they said — but the coronavirus had made it worse.
Courtesy Desiree Cornelio-Cady
Ikaika was rushed into surgery and now has a long road to recovery. He will have to take blood thinners for the rest of his life, ABC reported.
“There was a point that I actually thought that I was going to lose him,” Cady told the outlet.
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“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare, just watching her child suffer through that and not really being able to do anything,” she added. “He just looked so weak and I was just terrified of losing my son.”
A GoFundMe page started for Ikaika’s medical care costs describes the experience as “soul shaking” for the family. The page has raised $9,748.
“Since resources are limited, we are asking that if you are able and willing to please make a love donation (no amount is too small) towards health, medical and recovery expenses that are not covered by insurance it would be greatly appreciated,” the description reads. “It’s in times like these that we as a community need to rally around one another and send forth our prayers and well wishes in show of our love and support during this difficult time.”
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.