A Mount Mercy University student has died of complications from COVID-19. The school announced this week that student Ashley Hudson succumbed to the disease on Monday at the age of 21.
Hudson was studying education and was an aspiring kindergarten teacher, according to the university. This week, his life was cut short by COVID-19, which killed 6,401 people in Iowa on Tuesday, according to state data.
Mount Mercy hosted a vigil for Hudson at the campus Chapel of Mercy on Monday evening and offers free bereavement counseling services to students, faculty and staff.
In a statement released this week, university president Todd Olson called Hudson’s death “deeply painful” for the small campus community. About 1,700 students attend Mount Mercy, a private Catholic liberal arts university.
“Along with our entire campus community, I offer our deepest condolences to Ashley’s family, friends, faculty and staff, and her peers during this deeply difficult time,” reads the statement. Olson’s statement. “With a campus as tightly knit as ours, losing a member of our community – especially a student – is deeply painful.”
Social media posts from Hudson’s family members indicate that she had been hospitalized and placed on a ventilator and had been battling the disease for weeks.
“Always here, holding her hand and telling her how much I love her and how well she is,” read a Facebook post on September 18 from her father Kevin Hudson. “I ask God again to heal my little girl. She has so much life ahead of her and she’s such a good girl and an even better soul. Please ask everyone again for prayers for healing and thank you.
As of Tuesday afternoon, family, friends and loved ones had raised some $6,475 for Hudson through a GoFundMe account, money that was intended to cover his recovery costs but can now be donated in his honor. used to pay funeral expenses or be reimbursed to donors, depending on the page organizer.
“I’m completely lost,” organizer Matthew Franks wrote in an update on the GoFundMe page. “Ashley, we all love you so much, I’m really [cannot] see a world without you in it.
In Iowa, 65% of people age 18 and older have been fully vaccinated against COVID. Research indicates that the injections remain highly effective in limiting the risk of serious illness leading to hospitalization and death.