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7-year-old Tennessee girl passes away due to COVID-19, soon after her baby sister was born

Adalyn Rita Graviss prayed for years to become a big sister. Her dream came true just days before she died from COVID-19.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Adalyn Rita Graviss wanted to be a big sister her whole life. Her dream came true on January 28 — just days before she died from complications of COVID-19.

"We are so thankful she was able to have all her dreams come true even for a few short days," her mom Jennifer said. "Heaven has gained our angel."

Adalyn immediately fell in love with her sister Ella Gray. Her mom said the second-grader had the biggest heart and smile.

"She is loved by this whole community," Jennifer said. "She was so brave and so strong ... this girl is up there dancing with Jesus."

They said Adalyn Rita Graviss passed away after a COVID-19 infection triggered Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, otherwise known as ADEM. As part of the condition, the body's immune system mistakenly identifies its own healthy cells and tissues foreign contaminants.

The body attacks its own cells, resulting in severe inflammation. It can also include fever, headache, and seizures. ADEM typically only occurs once, differentiating it from a similar kind of illness — Multiple Sclerosis.

"Please continue praying for comfort, strength, and peace for our family," Jennifer said. "She gave her life to Jesus and loved him more than we could’ve ever imagined. We love you baby girl and we will all be together again soon."

Her kindergarten teacher began a GoFundMe campaign to help the family cover the costs of a memorial service and other expenses. It reached its fundraising goal within 8 hours of starting.

"Adalyn loved Jesus so big, loved her family with intensity too, and was the proudest big sister there ever was," organizers of the campaign said.

Credit: Graviss Family

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