KEY POINTS

  • The couple leaves behind kids aged 10, 15, 16 and 17
  • The children now live with their extended family
  • A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for the minors

Four children with roots in Portland have been orphaned after both their parents died of COVID-19 in Missouri only two weeks apart. The kids also lost their grandfather to the disease last month.

Pavel Kuzmenko, 55, died on Dec. 27, 2021, after COVID-19 and pneumonia ravaged his lungs. His wife Olga Kuzmenko, 41, also passed away two weeks later, reported Oregon Live. It is not clear whether the couple was vaccinated. 

According to Pavel Sklyaruk, Olga's brother, the family lived in Portland for almost 21 years before moving to Missouri last year. He added that their 80-year-old father, Andrey Sklyaruk, also died due to COVID-19 on Dec. 17, 2021.

"It's my third funeral in three weeks," Pavel Sklyaruk said. "I know he was older. It was still really hard for me to let him go."

The patriarch's death set off a terrible sequence for the family. Pavel Kuzmenko also fell ill not long after. His health deteriorated and was also placed on dialysis for acute kidney failure.

Olga also tested positive for the virus soon. She appeared to be winning the battle but a sudden fungal infection appeared and triggered bleeding in her brain. She was put on life support and doctors declared her brain dead Wednesday after she stopped breathing two days prior.

Pavel Sklyaruk said it's unclear if the couple was ever vaccinated. He alleged that the pair faced discrimination in the hospital due to their Ukrainian heritage.

"When you talk with an accent, it doesn't mean you don't know anything," he said.

The grief-stricken family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the couple's four children — aged 10, 15, 16 and 17 — who now live with their extended family. So far, they have managed to raise over $208,860.

Last week, a Milwaukee man opened up about how COVID-19 wiped off his entire immediate family within weeks. All of them were unvaccinated. His family, consisting of his parents and sister, who was legally blind, were getting ready to celebrate Christmas when the infection struck. His sister died first, followed by his mother and father. 

As per the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the state recorded 954,485 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 13,535 total deaths as of Sunday. Oregon, on the other hand, logged 8,672 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 Friday, bringing the state total to 513,391.

Health workers tend to a Covid-19 patient in the ICU at a hospital in Florencio Varela, Argentina in April 2021 Representation. Health workers tend to a COVID-19 patient in the ICU at a hospital. Photo: AFP / RONALDO SCHEMIDT