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Community rallies to support family of Bradford mom, PSW who died with COVID-19

While their dad was in hospital battling COVID-19, the children found mom Cristina Marasigan unresponsive in her bed
Cristina Marasigan

The community is mourning the loss of a Bradford mother and personal support worker who was found not breathing by her children in their home, after passing away suddenly with COVID-19.

On the afternoon of Feb. 23, the children called 911 after finding Cristina Marasigan unresponsive in her bed. By the time paramedics arrived, it was too late. 

At the time, Marasigan's husband, John, was in hospital recovering from COVID-19 when he was told the tragic news.

Marasigan had taken her husband, who has asthma and had been having difficulty breathing, to Southlake Regional Health Centre on Saturday, Feb.20. He began receiving treatment for COVID-19, and Marasigan returned home to quarantine and care for their two children. 

Marasigan and the children were tested for COVID-19 on the Monday after they also began showing symptoms of the virus.

Her daughter informed paramedics her mother was breathing “heavily” the evening before, but that she did not want to go to the hospital because she needed to stay home to take care for them.

An autopsy report confirmed Marasigan died due to complications from COVID-19. Her husband, who had been transferred to Mackenzie Health the day Marasigan passed away, has now returned home with his children, where he continues to recover from the lingering effects of COVID-19.

According to the children's aunt, both children tested positive for COVID-19 but have since recovered from their mild symptoms. 

“[John] is still short of breath when he talks but is doing better,” notes close family friend Michelle Pascual, who was shocked by the news of her friend's passing. “It is a tragedy for the kids.”

Pascual and her family were very close with the Marasigan family. Pascual's husband works with John and the two families used to have weekly dinners together for years prior to the pandemic. She said Marasigan had just turned 49 in January, but due of the pandemic, the friends did not get together to celebrate her birthday.

“Cristina was a very devoted mom and wife,” said Pascual. “She was a jolly and kind-hearted person who was willing to help others in any way. Her top priority was her family and two kids… she will be terribly missed because she was taken too soon from us. All we can think of right now is that she is in the good hands of the Lord.”

Marasigan, who was healthy and worked as a PSW full time, had been financially supporting her mother, who resides in the Philippines where Cristina was born. The family have lived in Bradford for over seven years and were well known by many members of the community.

Friend Shannon Ogilvie started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the family. So far, about $10,000 has been raised.

“Cristina was such a happy spirit,” commented Gail Long on the GoFundMe page. “Always cheerleading at soccer games and loved her friends and family.”

“Cristina... was so dedicated toward her profession,” shares close friend Manav Karwal, whose mother-in-law was cared for by Cristina for five years. “She took great initiatives when it came to extra curricular activities for her kids. She made sure that she was there with her kids at every step of the way… she took great pride in her work and always had a beautiful smile on her face… we are all so devastated by her passing.”

“This void can never be filled,” said Karwal. “Taken too soon but you will remain in our hearts forever… we love you Cristina.”