Megan Richards was a 32-year-old mom of six—including a five-month-old son named Myles—when she passed away in November 2021. Richards was breastfeeding Myles—which is something she planned to do until his first birthday—when she died due to complications from COVID-19.
Megan’s husband Michael said that his wife continued to pump up until the very end because it was so important to her. It was one of the things she wanted most for her baby.
“Even when she got sick and I was trying to keep her in bed, and just try to get her to rest, I talked to her about it maybe being time to stop pumping—she’d been pumping to be able to feed him with a bottle—and she refused,” he told Good Morning America.
Now, in the wake of Megan’s death, strangers have been donating breast milk to help out.
Michael explained that everyone in his family got sick with COVID in early November. Even though Megan was sick, Michael said she continued to take care of everyone in the family.
Megan “wanted to do everything” for her husband and kids, so trying to get her to stay in bed and rest was difficult. When things suddenly took a turn for the worse and she got “really sick,” she told her husband she needed to go to the hospital. But, she didn’t think she could make it.
“I stepped outside to call 911, and when I got back inside Megan was laying on the living room floor,” Michael said. “Our oldest said she stood up and said she didn’t feel right and passed out. It was scary. I couldn’t get her to wake up and she wouldn’t answer me, and I didn’t know what to do.”
Things continued to get worse when Megan was in the hospital. The doctors diagnosed her with COVID pneumonia and said she was having heart trouble. They also treated her for dehydration and expected her to recover quickly.
But less than a week after noticing her first COVID symptoms—and one day after arriving at the hospital—Megan died at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
When Michael shared his family’s story with the local news, strangers started donating breast milk to help out.
“The first donation that we received came from a woman [also] named Megan,” said Megan’s sister, Brittany Eppenauer. “It’s overwhelming to know that other moms care that much, to make sure that we can fulfill my sister’s wishes.”
In the weeks since Megan’s death, her family has received hundreds of emails from all over the country. Nursing moms have already sent in donations totaling more than 400 ounces of breast milk, plus a freezer to store it in. Eppenauer estimates they will need around 10,000 ounces to reach Myles’s first birthday next July.
Megan chose not to get vaccinated before getting sick with COVID-19. Michael said that he regrets not pushing his wife to get the shot, so now he’s encouraging others to do so.
Megan’s family is raising money for Michael and his six children via a GoFundMe. He said that Megan was “the best mother ever” and he “loved her more than anything.”
“She did everything for [her kids], and she lived with no regrets and she put them before anyone else,” he said.
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