Her 26-year-old fiance died from COVID-19. Now, she's telling people to get vaccinated.
For five days, Solomon Deloach waged a desperate battle against COVID-19 to stay alive and come home to his family.
On Aug. 2, breathing with difficulty and in an ICU bed at Edward Hospital in Naperville, he passed the torch to his fiance, LouNaeha Young.
"I got there and talked to him through the window," Young said. "I told him, 'we love you so much.' And, 'if you are tired ... let me fight for you, like you fight for us.' That was at noon. At 3:23 he was gone."
Deloach, an environmental services manager at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Now Young is on a crusade to educate others that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and can save lives.
On Wednesday she got her second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine at Sherman and spoke about a life-changing summer as the couple's 3-year-old son, Legend, romped and played.
Deloach joined the Advocate system in 2018 and moved swiftly up the ranks, working in several Wisconsin hospitals before being promoted to Sherman in May.
"When the COVID-19 vaccine first came out he was very hesitant about getting it for so many reasons. And being his partner I backed him up," Young said.
Those reasons included widespread misinformation about vaccines and skepticism in minority communities about the federal government's intentions, she explained.
But now the highly infectious delta strain of COVID-19 is spiraling in the U.S. and Deloach, a healthy 26- year-old, was vulnerable to serious outcomes because he had an underlying medical condition: Type 2 diabetes.
While in hospital, a doctor asked Deloach if he intended to get vaccinated.
"'As soon as I leave here I'm getting vaccinated,'" Young recalled him saying.
"'You changed your mind?'" Young asked.
"He said, 'Well, look where I am.'"
When she got her first COVID-19 shot three weeks ago, "I wasn't scared at all," Young said. "The scariest part of my life was Aug. 2 and that was losing him. Our beautiful little boy has got to grow up without his best friend and there's nothing I can do about it. But what I can do is make sure everybody hears me."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that the delta variant may cause more serious illness in unvaccinated people than previous mutations of COVID-19. Studies from Canada and Scotland show that "patients infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be hospitalized than patients infected with (the United Kingdom variant) or the original virus that causes COVID-19," the CDC stated.
Advocate Sherman President Sheri DeShazo said that "it is a tragedy to lose such a young and vibrant father, partner and team member to this virus.
"Solomon was an amazing leader who quickly endeared himself to the Sherman team. He was ambitious and kind, and always served our community and patients with skill, compassion and care."
Since August, Young has advocated for COVID-19 vaccinations in Milwaukee, where the family lived, and Illinois.
"I want to tell people with underlying health conditions like Solomon, it's so important to do your research," she said.
"I'm only 26, and he was only 26, and our son is 3. I want to help anybody and everybody I can. If you have doubts about the vaccine, why? Who made you have doubts? Do they have doubts because someone else had doubts? And did that person have doubts because of someone else?"