SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- The family of a 15-year-old Simi Valley boy is urging the public to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously after the teen died recently of a rare illness linked to COVID-19.
Family will tell you that, from a young age, Braden Wilson, a sophomore at Simi Valley's Santa Susana High School involved in theater, video production and choir, knew what it meant to be kind.
His aunt, Heather Brassil, described him as "just a good, sweet, genuine kid."
Braden was diagnosed with COVID-19 just two weeks ago.
"He started having organ failure," Brassil said in an interview with ABC7, adding that her nephew had been careful throughout the pandemic.
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It wasn't until Braden had complications from an unrelated surgery that he ended up in and out of hospitals, eventually testing positive for the virus.
Just days after being transferred to Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Braden passed away last week.
His family was told that the cause was multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a rare pediatric complication stemming from COVID-19.
"It's very shocking to see how it decided to take him," Brassil said.
Braden was an only child. On top of the heartbreaking loss, his mother is recovering right now from COVID-19 as well.
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"She's not doing very well emotionally," Brassil said, "and that's why I'm talking to you. She would not be able to keep her composure."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been less than 17,000 MIS-C cases nationwide and only 26 resulting in death.
Still, Braden's aunt wants people to know it can happen to anyone.
"It's very real. It should make people stop and think," she said, "to be considerate to others even though it may be an inconvenience to follow safety practices.
"But if it can help save someone's life, I think it's worth it."
The family has set up a GoFundMe account for Braden's memorial service and medical expenses. To help, visit www.gofundme.com/f/braden-wilson-memorial-services.