Born May 29, 1988 ~ Heaven Bound December 9, 2003
The story you are about to read about Demi Candelaria is very tragic but the real story of Demi is in the life that she led. At 15 years old, she was a member of a two-time state championship soccer team, played many sports, and had traveled to various places. She was a beautiful, vibrant, strong, committed and determined girl. Demi was not a quitter. She worked very hard for everything and always gave 100%. Demi never waited for things to happen, she made things happen. She was considered a leader and inspired many. Demi was one of those very rare individuals who always found the good in people and brought out the best in others. She was truly beautiful on the inside and the outside. Demi was also very devout in her faith and was not afraid to pray out loud and reminded others to pray. She was also a very giving person who would do anything for her family and friends, and even in her death she continued to give to others. Demi was a organ donor and with her death she saved the lives of five unknown individuals. Demi is loved very much by her family, and the greatest gift she gave to her family was her love in return.
On 12/6/03 we anxiously awaited Demiís return from a basketball tournament that was held in St. George, Utah. Demi arrived home at approximately 11:00 p.m., late that Saturday night. It seemed too late for the family to catch up on the events of the tournament, so Demi gave us a very brief summary of events and we decided we would talk more in the morning. Sunday morning Demi slept in late. My husband Demis and I went to her bedroom and kissed her on the cheek and ran our hands through her beautiful hair. Demi complained that she wasnít feeling well. She was cold, her muscles ached, and she was very tired. We thought to ourselves, of course her muscles ached and she was tired, she had just played in a basketball tournament for the last three days. We had no idea how the next 48 hours would play out. Our time with our beautiful daughter was limited, and we had no idea what we were about to face.
When Demi finally got up on Sunday, she again complained that she was cold, very tired, and felt run down. I had been very sick from the flu on Thanksgiving, and thought that Demi must be coming down with the flu. She didnít have a fever or stiff neck, she was just very cold, tired and had muscle aches. My husband and I went to the grocery store and when we returned, Demi was still in her bedroom sleeping. Demi stayed in her bedroom until my sister and her family came to visit late that afternoon. My sister has three children, the youngest being 2 Ĺ years old. Demi loved children and was very passionate with babies. When Demi heard the kids, she came downstairs to visit. Demi played and teased the boys for a while and she made sure that she held the baby Shelby the entire visit. We invited my sister and her family to have dinner with us that evening. Demi fixed herself a plate of spaghetti, but didnít have a big appetite. She had a couple of bites of salad and decided she needed to lie down. Demi went to her room to rest, but her cell phone started ringing and she continued to receive calls from her friends throughout the evening. At this point, Demi did not want to be disturbed by her cousins and in her own polite way she asked them to leave the room, ďGET OUT.Ē Later that evening, after my sister left, my husband and I went to check on Demi in her room. She was very tired and wanted to sleep. She had every intention to get plenty of rest, get up in the morning, and get ready for school.
Monday morning (12/8/03) came very quickly. I woke Demi up in the morning and asked her if she was feeling well enough to go to school. She didnít answer me right away and seemed somewhat hesitant on her decision to go to school. I told her that if she didnít feel well enough to go to school, she needed to stay home. Demi responded by saying that she was okay and proceeded to get ready. At 7:10 a.m. Demi and I left the house. We picked up her friend Alex. When we were on our way to school Demi soon began to complain that she was very tired. She asked me if she could stay with her grandmother for the day. Demi dialed her grandmotherís telephone number and handed me the phone. I explained to my mother that Demi was not feeling well and that she wanted to stay with her for the day. Of course, my mother was willing to take care of Demi. We dropped Alex off at school and began our drive to my motherís house. I dropped Demi off, gave her a kiss goodbye, and told her I would call her when I arrived at work. When I arrived at work, I phoned Demi to check on her condition. My mother informed me that she was lying on the sofa and had complained of a headache. My mother gave Demi Ibuprofen to relieve her headache. Demi ate very little throughout the day, a couple of bites of breakfast and a half bowl of soup for lunch. I called Demi again in the afternoon to check on her condition, and she indicated that she really wasnít hungry. This time she had a slight fever. My mother gave Demi a cold pill in hopes of reducing her fever. Later in the afternoon, Demi developed a rash on her body. The rash didnít appear to be anything serious and only looked like a heat rash and disappeared very quickly. As I look back on the events that took place, I remember that Demi had this same rash on Sunday night. Like any other mother, I began to worry and decided that Demi needed to see a physician. I picked Demi up from my motherís house and took her to the local emergency clinic. I explained to the physician the events that had taken place and that I had just recently recovered from the flu. I remember telling the physician how sick I had been and did not want that to happen to Demi. Based on the symptoms, the physician assumed that Demi was coming down with Strep Throat and gave her a prescription for an antibiotic. I went to the grocery store to fill the prescription, and then we headed home. What happens next is the nightmare that I cannot wake up from....
We walked in the door at approximately 7:00 p.m., and my husband Demis gave Demi a big kiss. I warned him that Demi was very contagious. His reply was, ďI donít careĒ. Demi went to her room , and I went to the kitchen to get her a glass of water to take with her medicine. Demis and I both took Demi the water and gave her the medicine. Demis had made dinner and asked Demi if she was ready to eat; again she indicated she was not hungry. Demis and I ate dinner that night without Demi. After dinner Demis went upstairs to take a shower, and I remained downstairs in the kitchen. I then heard my husband yelling to inform me that Demi was calling out for me. Apparently, Demi had come out of her room, was calling for me, and collapsed. I ran out of the kitchen, up the stairs, and into the hallway to find my husband holding Demi in his arms. Her eyes were rolled back in her head and she was completely limp. We knew something terrible was happening and we immediately called 911. The time was now 8:00 pm.
Demi was rushed to the nearest hospital. The emergency physician suspected Meningitis and immediately administered various antibiotics. He then proceeded with a spinal tap, which conclusively supported his suspicion. Demi had some form of Meningitis, which type at this time was unknown. As she lied there in the emergency hospital bed, my husband and I had no idea the severity of meningitis. The physician indicated to us that Demi was very sick. Demi could not breath on her own, and it would be necessary to put her on a respirator. He advised us to start calling our family members. The physician then called our family pediatrician. After discussions with our pediatrician, it was decided that Demi should be transported by helicopter to a children's medical center. Demi arrived at the hospital around 11: 30 p.m. After observation of Demi, review of her lab tests, various other tests performed, continual monitoring, and the aggressive nature of her symptoms, it was suspected that she had Meningococcal Meningitis. We had no idea that her death was hours away. At this point my husband and I were in shock! Family members were beginning to arrive at the hospital , and we were hearing terms that we did not understand. What did all of this mean? We just wanted to take our baby home. Demi had a basketball game the next day that we were planning to attend. What was happening? Why had God forsaken us??
The physician at the childrenís medical center had explained to us that Demiís brain was swelling at a very rapid rate and that an emergency operation was necessary. The physician explained a very risky procedure that had only been done a few times and that there was no literature on the procedure. This procedure would require a group of physicians to decide if the operation could be successful or was too risky. An hour later, the physician informed us that the procedure was too risky. The only thing they could do would be to elevate her head and maintain the salt level in her body. The physician explained to our family how to read the hospital monitors and what the normal levels should read as. Hours passed and her levels never improved. The swelling in her head continued to increase and she still could not breath on her own. The physician informed us that Demi would not last much longer, death was very near. Our family prayed and prayed. We even tried to bargain with God, but our beautiful Demi passed away at 1:40 P.M. on 12/09/03.
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
This song picked from the "Wizard of Oz" by Aunt Diana
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
Demi and her family,
Happy 16th Birthday Demi
It is so hard to find the words to express how deeply I miss you, Demi. One of your many friends, I find myself remembering every day the times we had together. Remembering how happy I always was to see you at soccer practice. How much laughter and good times we shared together!! The sadness I have felt since the phone rang that tragic day is impossible for my to describe. But at the same time I feel lucky. So lucky to have been so blessed to know such an amazing person. I can't tell you how much I love and miss you because no words would be enough to describe how I feel. All I can do is thank you. Thank you for being so wonderful! You touched my life in so many ways. Your goodness and your love was so comforting to everyone who ever met you. You filled this world with such a beautiful light that will never dim no matter how far away you are. An angel always, you are beautiful inside and out. I will always be grateful that you have been, and always will be, a part of my life. You and your family are in my prayers and thoughts every day.
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