Fort Atkinson family says doctors believe COVID contributed to teen’s sudden death

FORT ATKINSON, Wis. — A Fort Atkinson family is grieving after the sudden death of their 13-year-old son, which the family says doctors believe was contributed to by COVID-19.

Danny Rees died on September 14th. Danny’s mother, Tammy, says he had been congested for two days with what seemed like a cold when he suddenly stopped breathing while resting at home.

During resuscitation, it was discovered that Danny had COVID-19.

Tammy Rees says doctors told her they believe COVID-19 was a contributing factor in his death, but not the sole cause. The rest of the family has since tested positive for COVID-19.

Danny was a 7th grader at Fort Atkinson Middle School. In a statement Thursday morning, the district said it is providing support to students, staff and families following his death.

“We want to acknowledge that our hearts are heavy for the loss of one of our students,” the district said. “We extend heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, staff, and members of our
community.”

The district says it will not provide any additional information about Danny’s death, citing federal privacy requirements and respect for the family, but did share the message they sent to families on Wednesday afternoon.

“We ask that people refrain from making assumptions or guesses as these can be hard for family and friends who are already feeling saddened by the news of his death,” the district wrote. “As we navigate this tragic event, it’s important for everyone involved to remember who Danny was as a person and keep his family and friends in our thoughts; our focus needs to remain on how we can all support and take care of each other.”

The family set up a GoFundMe page to help cover costs, since they do not have medical insurance and Tammy is not a salaried employee and has no income while she is sick.

“I currently cannot afford to respectfully lay my boy to rest and am worried about keeping a roof over my younger son’s head and food in his mouth,” Tammy wrote in the GoFundMe post.

The family is hoping to raise $30,000 to help cover those expenses.

Nitardy Funeral Home in Fort Atkinson says they are covering the cost for Danny’s cremation.

If you want to donate to the Rees family’s GoFundMe, you can do so here.