Updated: 2:54 PM PDT, April 12, 2021
The devoted family of a dying 58-year-old mother is desperately raising money to grant her fondest wish to die in her native Colombia surrounded by loved ones.
Leidy Darelli is in the last stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease and is no longer able to speak, move or eat and breathe on her own, her son, Danny, told Inside Edition Digital.
Nevertheless, she remains positive and smiling. “She’s one of a kind. Any situation, she finds the good in it,” said her 20-year-old son, who recently graduated from college in Utah.
She was diagnosed in 2019 with ALS, which is rapidly destroying her nervous system. But her condition took a drastic turn last month when she contracted pneumonia had had to be rushed into intensive care at a Salt Lake City hospital.
Doctors told Danny and his father that Leidy didn’t have much time left. She intubated and nearly died, her son said.
Panicked, Danny established a GoFundMe page a few days ago, to try to raise enough money to fly his mother home on a private, medical transport plane. The woman was too ill to fly commercially, the hospital staff told her family.
In that short time, more than $50,000 has already been raised to pay for a flight, medical equipment and attendants, Danny said.
“It’s basically like an air ambulance. It comes with a nurse and a respiratory therapist,” Danny said. “It’s a six-hour flight with a one-hour stop for gas. So seven hours from Salt Lake to Cartagena. It’s basically like a hospital room, so instead of staying in the hospital another day she could fly to her country.”
Bids are already coming in, he said, and the prices are much lower than the $150,000 they originally budgeted for.
“She is one of the most kind, genuine, hardworking women you’ll ever meet,” he wrote on the fundraising site. “Leidy worked very hard her whole life cleaning houses and as a substitute teacher/ parent liaison while living here. Now, I will fight my hardest to make her dream come true.”
His mother has lived and worked in Utah for the last 25 years, he said.
“She’s always been there for me, and now its time for me to be there for her.”