Family caring for son with muscular dystrophy after mother dies from flu

Published: Feb. 13, 2020 at 6:20 PM EST
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A Bowling Green family is searching for peace after a mother of a teenager with muscular dystrophy died from complications with the flu.

"My daughter, Melissa, she took care of Hayden, who has muscular dystrophy. She did that very well. She was just a very loving and caring person," says Karen Baer.

"She was 32. ... On Saturday, February 8, she passed away from the flu. And it was the most horrible thing I've ever seen," Karen said.

We first met Karen through a cousin asking us to find a way to help the family. The Baers had other plans. They wanted to prevent other families from feeling the pain they were feeling.

"That's just what I want to stress most, is how horrible it is to watch someone die of something that's preventable," says Karen.

"It's made me realize how dangerous the flu is, and that people need to be getting their flu shots," says Ashleigh Baer, Karen's daughter and sister to the late Melissa.

Melissa's son Hayden did not want to get in front of the camera.

"We've got Hayden to take care of. We've got to get him to doctor's appointments. And he's not able to walk, so we've got to really take care of Hayden. He's my most important thing right now," says Karen.

"That's what my sister would want us to do, make she he's OK," says Ashleigh.

In the days before Melissa passed, the family scrimped and saved to rent a handicap-accessible van for Hayden.

"We don't have a vehicle to take him anywhere, and we need to get him to Cleveland so that we can get him to the doctor," says Karen.

The van, finally reserved for an appointment twice missed, now has a new destination.

"Her funeral is the 17th," says Karen.

"She's not coming back. That's just really hard. I don't think it'll ever get easy. We just have no choice but to push on," says Ashleigh.

A family member set up an online donation page through Facebook in hopes that the family can buy their own van. The donation page can be reached


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