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Co-workers honor COVID-19 unit nurse who died from the disease

Vania Underwood was 36 years old and had just graduated nursing school. She was a wife, a mother and a frontline hero during the pandemic.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Healthcare workers put themselves at risk every day during the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, a Mercy St. Vincent's COVID-19 Unit nurse died of the disease.

Sirens blare on Auburn Avenue as cars parade by to honor a nurse who gave her life fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Vania, pretty much every time no matter what was going on, was just a positive energy in the unit," co-worker and friend Brock Bowman said.

Vania Underwood was 36 years old. She was a mother of 6 who had just graduated nursing school this year. 

She worked at Mercy St. Vincent's on the COVID Unit and died from COVID-19 last week.

RELATED: Local nurse, devoted wife and mother of 6 dies of COVID-19

"I believe this was her calling and she knew it. That's what she wanted to do was nursing," co-worker Kim Mullins said.

Her family says she did everything possible to keep them safe from exposure.

"She made sure that when she got home she took of her work clothes so we wouldn't get exposed," Underwood's husband Issac said.

Now her co-workers want Underwood's family to know her sacrifice will not be forgotten. 

They came bearing gifts, food and treats to try and spread a little joy this Christmas morning as they continue to grapple with the fact that she's gone.

"My first shift back after hearing was hard, but being surrounded by your friends and coworkers, which is pretty much our family during this whole pandemic, it definitely makes it easier being surrounded by people," Bowman said. 

Underwood's kids shared their thanks for mom's co-workers who continue the fight, while the Mercy nurses just wanted to say thank you and Merry Christmas.

A GoFundMe was started to help support Vania's family. If you're interested in contributing, you can click here.