Vigil held in Uptown to remember those lost to the pandemic

Updated: Apr. 9, 2021 at 10:33 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As more and more people line up to get their COVID-19 vaccines, a group of people met in First Ward Park Friday night to remember the ones who didn’t survive the pandemic.

Mecklenburg County has lost nearly 1,000 people to the virus--friends, family, neighbors. It’s hard to find anybody who hasn’t been affected in one way or another by the disease.

“It’s a tragedy that we had to lose our loved ones like we did.”

They gathered to remember the ones they lost.

“Nobody was ready you know? Losing my grandmother, she was the matriarch of our family,” said Shaleiah Sanders.

Sanders attended the event to honor her grandmother. She died this past year from COVID-19 while dealing with a crippling disease in a nursing home. But the story of how Miss Pearl’s life ended was both tragic and heartbreaking.

“We were almost to that vaccine point the day she was diagnosed with COVID-19 was the same day she was supposed to receive her first vaccine,” Sanders said.

Brittney Anderson was there for her godmother, Diane O’Neil. She caught the virus at a wedding and died just a month later. Today would have been her birthday.

“We’ve lost a lot of people due to this disease,” said Sanders. “We just need to know more about it, and how to keep other people from getting it and losing loved ones like we all have.”

Cedric Mangum is here remembering his godmother as well, and missing some of her oven-baked memories.

“Man, some made some of the best cakes, of the best cakes was that lemon pound. Yes sir, that lemon pound was nothing but the best,” he said.

And the words and lessons from those we lost, aren’t lost on those left behind.

“Treat people like you want to be treated, no different. We don’t care where you’re from. We treat everybody with love,” said Sharon Gilchrist.

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