LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 5,768 South Carolinians since the pandemic began, with DHEC reporting over 650 people dying since January 1 alone.
One of those heartbreaking losses is Ashley Bennett, who was a Lexington woman who died at only 36 years old, just days after giving birth to her 10th child.
“Her world circulated around her children,” Courtney Bucknam, Ashley’s sister, said. “She absolutely loved them.”
Bucknam said that Ashley was about 34 weeks pregnant when she tested positive for COVID-19 in late December. After an emergency delivery on January 1, her 10 children lost their mother to COVID-19 just seven days later.
“The pneumonia hit her and it just came with a vengeance,” Bucknam said. “It was awful.”
Bucknam said, more than anything, Bennett loved being a mother.
“She truly was put on this earth to be a mother,” Bucknam said.
Ashley’s 10 children range from two weeks old to 18 years old. Bucknam said Bennett, along with her husband Darryl and all of her children, tested positive for COVID-19 in December.
“It automatically went to bronchitis with Darryl and Ashley, and Ashley’s just progressed drastically,” Bucknam said.
Bucknam said Bennett didn’t have any pre-existing conditions, but when her health started to decline, her doctors did an emergency C-section on January 1. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl but never got the chance to hold her.
“I think in the back of her head she was worried something was going to happen, and so she just wanted to make sure we looked after the kids and that we made sure they knew how much she loved them,” Bucknam said.
Bucknam said Bennett had a blood clot that led to a stroke. She said Bennett was intubated and underwent surgery, but passed on January 8.
“She was an amazing person,” Bucknam said. “If we can learn anything from this, it’s that COVID is so serious, and we need to truly take precautions because she was only 36. She had no underlying conditions, and she was gone basically within 10 days.”
Bucknam said Bennett loved helping people. She said that Bennett homeschooled all 10 children, and volunteered with the Lexington County Fire department before that. She was the first female to complete the academy in 2010.
If you would like to donate to Bennett’s children and husband, visit the family’s GoFundMe page.