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S.W. Florida Daily News


Valerie’s House adapts grief counseling strategy amid COVID-19 surge

Valerie's House adapts grief counseling strategy amid COVID-19 surge

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A nonprofit that helps grieving families is grieving themselves after one of its volunteers died after contracting COVID-19.

Jeremy Feraci, a father and volunteer at Valerie’s House, died over the weekend from the virus.

More people have reached out to Valerie’s House sharing the same story: parents in their 30s and 40s, unvaccinated and dying from COVID-19.

“In all of the calls and emails, the words are strikingly similar. They were young and healthy,” founder and CEO Angie Melvin said. “We’re in shock that this has happened.”

Melvin said they suspended in-person group sessions due to a surge in cases. As more people get sick, she fears more families may end up at their doors.

“I think we have a handful of families that their loved one died from COVID during the pandemic a year ago. I’m talking about maybe three or four,” Melvin said. “So, the fact that we received three or four in one week is what’s causing major concern.”

Valerie’s House did virtual group sessions last year during the summer peak in COVID cases. They are deciding whether or not to go back to virtual group sessions.

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