Tragic COVID loss turned into community commitment

“She said to me — I’m scared”
Posted at 5:38 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 17:38:51-04

WHEATFIELD, NY (WKBW) — The life of a Wheatfield young woman tragically ended because of COVID.

But now her memory is being preserved, first with a blood drive in her honor and a brand new foundation is also being created.

Portrait of Taitanna Moore.

Tatianna Moore, 22, died near a year ago.

In a peaceful back patio of the Wheatfield home, where Tatianna once lived, it is filled with wind chimes in her memory.

Her mother, Lori Salvatore, has been through a very profound journey brought on by COVID.

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Lori Salvatore shares her heartbreaking story of losing her daughter to COVID.

“She said to me ‘I’m scared’. She mouthed it — ‘I’m scared’ and that was the last thing I ever heard her say,” cried Salvatore.

It was a journey that began in April of 2020. Tatianna was diagnosed with COVID, hospitalized and placed on a ventilator.

At the time, Salvatore told me she was hopeful Tatianna would recover while receiving blood plasma treatments.

Tatianna Moore.

Dr. Thomas Russo, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University, says at that time, it was considered a "Hail Mary" for selected patients as the only treatment.

But now, it does not appear to be effective.

“Will it continue to be used at all at this point?" Buckley asked.

Dr. Thomas Russo in a Zoom interview.

“There is a few trials that are being analyzed at this time, where only high levels, of high quality antibody are used and so we will have the final word on that soon,” replied Dr. Russo.

Unfortunately, it did not work for Tatianna.

COVID ravaged her lungs and she was taken to the Cleveland Clinic waiting for a double lung transplant.

But nearly one year ago, July 8, the young woman, who was studying social work at SUNY Buffalo State College, passed away, with her younger sister, aunt and dear mother by her side.

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Lori Salvatore describing the moment her daughter died.

“I could just see her peaceful spirit go to heaven. I could just see it go and I was in a way, after 90 some days — happy that she could breathe — you know,” reflected Salvatore.

Salvatore says because her daughter received so much blood and an outpouring of generosity from the community, she decided to create a blood drive June 24, teaming with ConnectLife.

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Blood drive event.

“Always such a beautiful thing to be a part of when Western New Yorkers embrace families like Tatianna's and come out and donate blood to help save lives in her name and her life that couldn't be saved,” noted Amanda Farrell, director of Blood Recruitment Services, ConnectLife.

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Amanda Farrell, director of Blood Recruitment Services, ConnectLife, in a Zoom interview.

But there's more — the family is also launching the The Team Tatitana Foundation. Tatianna served at a YWCA and after-school program working with children.

Salvatore says the foundation will help kids in need "thrive”.

New foundation logo.

"We’re gearing it toward kids who maybe might be in a domestic violence situation a sexual abuse situation even special needs kids,” explained Salvatore.

Salvatore keeps her daughter close to her heart with a special ring that has Tatiann's thumb print and ashes inside.

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Lori Salvatore wears a ring with her daughter's thumb print & ashes.

“’I’m going to get to heaven one day and every day I wake up in the morning, is one day closer that I get to be with her, but I’m going to have a lot of questions when I get there,” replied Salvatore.