Coronavirus poses unique threat to Vermont 7th grader with Crohn’s

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Adjusting to social distancing and quarantining has been challenging for most of us. But for 13-year-old Kiara Nestler, it can be the difference between life and death.

Kiera has Crohn’s Disease, and while routine treatments help her manage the illness, they also weaken her immune system, making her more vulnerable to common colds and viruses. Taking extra precautions is nothing new for the Bridgewater 7th grader, but the coronavirus outbreak has taken it to a new level.

“I’m pretty scared,” she said. “You know you cant leave the house, you can’t go outside really without the risk of being exposed to it,” Kiara said. “If I get the virus I could die, there’s a very good chance I could die.”

Kiara, her mother, Tamra, and sister, Brielle, have been quarantined for 3 weeks now. Kiara was pulled out of school a month ago and passes the time by reading, drawing and playing video games. She’s only left the house once, for treatment.

It’s up to mom to run errands, but each trip out of the house runs a greater risk.

“Our life revolves around Kiara and trying to keep her as healthy as possible, but now we’re trying to keep her alive,” Tamra said. “I cant find groceries, the shelves are bare here. You know every store that I add to my shopping list, I feel like is one more round of exposure that I could bring home to Kiara.”

Tamra has depended on the generosity of neighbors and friends to help fill her shelves. She’s also turned to online deliveries, but it’s expensive, especially with Kiara’s restricted diet. The Nestlers say they’re scared with a lot of uncertainty in the days ahead.

“I try to decontaminate everything and be as careful as I can but it’s a hard way to live,”Tamra said.

The family has created Go Fund Me page set up to gather donations.

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