‘COVID ravaged her body’; Mother of Hopewell nurse who died of COVID-19 on New Years Day speaks out

Local News

HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — A Hopewell nurse died of COVID-19 on New Years day, according to her family. The mother of 51-year-old Syvie Robertson is opening up about her daughter’s deadly battle with the virus and her message on just how lethal the virus can be.

Instead of ringing in the new year with family and friends, Robertson was hooked up to a ventilator at Johnston-Willis Hospital when the clock stuck midnight.

Mona Terry, Robertson’s mother, described to 8News how the virus ‘destroyed’ her daughter’s internal organs.

“This COVID ravaged her body,” explained Robertson. “She could not walk, she could not breathe and she knew she was in serious condition. She lived long enough for her kidney’s to fail, her liver to fail and finally her heart to fail.”

On January 1, 2021, just one hour into the new year, Robertson’s body gave out and she was pronounced deceased at 1:00 a.m. She leaves behind three children.

Terry says that her daughter was ‘absolutely terrified’ of the virus and her fear intensified when she was assigned to the COVID-19 ward at a long-term care facility in Hopewell, back in July.

“She was frightened of COVID,” said Terry. “The day they assigned her, she called me and said mom I am so scared and my words to her were to quit that job. Go home and sit down for a while until we get a vaccine.”

But she didn’t, despite her fears Robertson chose her passion and helped others. Everyday she got up, walked into work and helped sick residents fighting COVID-19. Unfortunately, Robertson contracted the virus herself, just days after Thanksgiving.

Shawanda Jeter is an administrator at Wonder City Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, formally known as Hopewell Healthcare. Robertson was a LPN, licensed practical nurse, at the facility for three years. Jeter says Robertson’s fellow nurses are devastated and they have taken in and treated COVID patients.

“We’ve tried to contain it as best as we can,” said Jeter. “We have been following CDC guidelines and working closely with the Virginia Department of Health. We are trying to console each other as much as possible, it was just something we were hoping she (Robertson) would pull through.”

Jeter goes on to say that Robertson lit up the halls of the facility and gave her all. The center is offering counseling to any staff or residents who may need it.

Although nothing will bring Robertson back, her mother says while grieving, she wants to use her daughter’s death to warn the public to ‘pay attention’. She also says she wants everyone to remember her daughter as a hard working nurse, as well as a loving mother and daughter.

“I want people to remember Syvie Mechelle Robertson and her sacrifices,” said Terry. “Mask up, listen to the CDC, take every word they say to heart, this is not a political platform, this is pure science. If we don’t listen, there’s going to be a lot more people grieving.”

Terry is a retired nurse and also wants to urge folks to consider getting the vaccine when it becomes available. Jeter tells 8News, Wonder City Rehabilitation and Nursing Center received their first doses of the vaccine this week.

Robertson was studying to become a registered nurse at Bryant & Stratton College and was expected to graduate in April. Officials with the college confirm to 8News that they will be providing Robertson’s family with an Honorary Degree and creating a scholarship for aspiring nursing students in Robertson’s name.


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