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DENVER -- Before she moved to the United States, Tin Aye lived in a refugee camp with her family, but she wanted to give her children a better life.
"My mom, she always has a pure heart, she always help and she’s always giving," said San Twin, her daughter.
Twin and her brother were borned in a refugee camp in Thailand. Their parents were originally from Myanmar where they fought for human rights until they were forced to flee for their safety.
"My mom and dad choose to come to the U.S. for our future," said Twin.
Her mom got a job a the JBS plant in Greeley where she worked in the meatpacking department. Twin says she recently asked her mom to retire but money was tight and she had a strong work ethic.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a Denver7 investigation exposed safety concerns inside the plant where Aye worked. Her coworkers started getting sick and Twin told her mom to be careful.
"I always called my mom around 11:00 a.m. before she goes to work and my mom, she told me they already found someone who has COVID-19 in the plant," said Twin.
Despite those concerns, her mom continued working. It was an exciting time for the family because Twin was about to give birth to a baby boy. On March 28, when Twin went into the hospital to have the baby, she got some shocking news.
"I said, 'mom I already got a COVID-19 positive here and that you need to go [get] checked up. It's the time my mom, she’s really sick already, she couldn’t breathe," said Twin.
Twin tested positive for COVID-19 and she was immediately concerned about her mom. She said by the time her mom went to the hospital to get tested she was admitted right away because her case was so severe.
"I said, 'Mom I don’t know where I get this from but I think I got it from you,'" said Twin.
She said her mom was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit where she was now fighting for her life.
"I think the doctor already explained to her that she’s not going to make it. 'Pray for me, I don’t want to say goodbye yet' she said," said Twin.
Twin said her mom was in the ICU for 52 days before she was transferred to a nursing home. She passed away two days later.
"I’m so surprised at the company, my mom... she worked so hard at JBS, the company don’t even call and ask how my mom is doing, how we are doing," said Twin.
As the family mourned, they scraped together their savings to pay for the funeral. Twin explained that having a place to pay respects to the deceased is an important part of their culture but they can't afford a headstone.
"Because my family, we love my mom so much and then we want to have a memory place for her," said Twin.
Denver7 previously interviewed Twin for a story about a recent OSHA fine against JBS for unsafe working conditions at the plant. During that interview, she revealed the family was struggling to afford a headstone and Denver7 wanted to help.
A Denver7 Gives account was set up for the family to help them during this challenging time. Your donation to this fund will be used to help buy a headstone for Aye.
"It’s really hard for us, imagine when you lose someone that you love, it is really hard," said Twin.
Denver7 has created an easy way for people to help others in our community. We have featured the stories of people who need help and now you help them with a cash donation through Denver7 Gives. One hundred percent of contributions to the fund will be used to help people in our local community.