BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Jaheim Lambert was just 13 years old when he lost his life to the coronavirus. It’s a grim reminder of COVID-19’s deadly potential, even in children. Loved ones buried the seventh-grader at Union Cemetery in East Bakersfield this morning. His family calls him an old soul.
“He’s like the best thing,” said Jaya Pinkins, Jaheim’s niece. “The best little person you could ever have.”
“He talked to anybody that came around. He just showed everyone love,” said Jamyria Lambert, Jaheim’s cousin.
Jaheim was one of the estimated million-and-a-half Americans who struggle with lupus. But that’s not the only medical battle he fought.
“It was August. I was in the shower, got ready to take him to school. When I went into the room, he was passed out,” said Nieta Lambert, his mother. “I took him to Memorial Hospital and they said it was COVID. He tested positive for COVID. But he never showed a sign or nothing.”
He died just weeks later at Madera Children’s Hospital. His death certificate lists his cause of death as COVID-19.
“He had lupus in both his kidneys. We used to go to Madera every month. This time when we went, he didn’t come back,” said Lambert. “He didn’t come back with us. And I’m so mad because before we left, before anything, I told him he’s gonna be alright. I made a promise that he’s gonna be alright.”
Jaheim’s family says you can take steps today to prevent deaths like this.
“I know that it’s a two-sided issue when it comes to vaccines,” said Denice Hughes, one of Jaheim’s aunts. “Some people have lost their life not having a vaccine, and some people have lost their life from having vaccines. But we need to do something as a community, so we can all be protected and we don’t lose our children.”
“It’s not politics,” said Audra Burgiss, Jaheim’s aunt. “Don’t let nobody tell you it’s politics because Donald Trump said ‘go drink some bleach.’ It’s something we need to educate everyone about it. Keep wearing the mask.”
Jaheim’s family is still paying funeral expenses, even after the burial. If you want to donate, click on this GoFundMe.