Sept. 7, 2021 -- TikTok creator and creator Alexandra Blankenbiller posted her past video connected Aug. 15 from her infirmary bed. Voice raspy, breathing with the assistance of a machine, she pleaded with her followers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I don’t person a batch of vigor for talking, truthful I’m going to effort to marque this quick,” said Blankenbiller, who lived successful the Jacksonville, FL, area. “I did not get vaccinated. I’m not anti-vax; I was conscionable trying to bash my research. I was scared.”
“I bash deliberation it was a mistake,” she continued. “I shouldn’t person waited. If you are adjacent 70% definite you privation the vaccine, spell get it. Don’t wait. Go get it. Because hopefully if you get it, past you won’t extremity up successful the infirmary similar me.”
Nine days later, she died. She was 31.
Like galore Americans, Blankenbiller had been hesitant to get the vaccine. She had work conflicting accusation astir the disposable COVID-19 shots, and she and her household didn’t privation to get immunized until everyone was connected board.
“It's nary concealed this is thing that should beryllium taken seriously,” says her sister, Cristina Blankenbiller. “But there's truthful overmuch misinformation retired there.”
When they each agreed to get their shots, Blankenbiller, on with her parent and 2 sisters, made their appointments. But they fell sick earlier their scheduled clip slots.
Blankenbiller got the worst of it. Her humor oxygen level continued to plummet until she went to Orange County Medical Center, wherever doctors, nurses, and her 15,000 TikTok followers were her lone company. Her household wasn’t allowed to sojourn until they received a telephone that thing much that could beryllium done for her.
“Her last video truly showed a batch of who she was,” says her different sister, Rachel Blankenbiller “She was selfless -- the benignant of idiosyncratic who utilized her last days to assistance others.”
Her past 4 videos were taken successful the hospital. In a chilling video from Aug. 13, determination were screams coming from different room. Blankenbiller looked scared.
Unfortunately, her lawsuit is not unique. According to CDC data, Florida is seeing its deadliest surge of COVID-19 since the opening of the pandemic. Only 54% of the authorities colonisation was fully vaccinated arsenic of Sept. 3.
Friends and household retrieve Blankenbiller for her kindness; she was the benignant of idiosyncratic who would halt a alien astatine the market store to wage a compliment, Rachel says.
“She recovered quality successful everything and everyone,” she says. “She loved radical without judgment. Regardless of whether you wanted her love oregon not, you'd get it.”
Royce Freeman, 41, met Blankenbiller astatine a section filmmaker meetup successful 2016. Blankenbiller began visiting him connected movie sets erstwhile helium worked and would connection assistance without asking for credit. When she died, she and Freeman were moving connected a screenplay together. She apologized that her unwellness would interfere with her enactment and had planned to constitute from her infirmary furniture until the corruption became excessively severe.
“The time earlier she went to the hospital, she was sending maine pages,” Freeman says. “She didn’t consciousness good, but she was pushing through.”
Blankenbiller is besides mourned by the Jax Treblemakers, a section a cappella group, which considered her a subordinate of their family. She auditioned for them successful 2016, and stood retired for her positivity and wit close away, says Alec Hadden, the group’s enforcement and creator director.
“She cared profoundly astir helping others, and I deliberation it was that compassion for others that drove her to effort and amended radical done her last fewer videos,” Hadden says. “She did not privation anyone, adjacent a alien watching her videos connected TikTok, to spell done the symptom and heartache that she and others connected the COVID ward were going through. And if she could assistance adjacent 1 person, she would.”