Mum-of-two Catherine Bertram, 60, of Cleadon Park, first began to display symptoms of coronavirus on March 28, the week the country went into lockdown at the height of the outbreak.
Despite being fit and healthy, Catherine, who was a key worker at Tesco, saw her condition worsen and was admitted to South Tyneside District Hospital on April 7.
She was taken to intensive care a few days later, where she sadly passed away on April 23.
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Although devastated by her loss, Catherine’s husband, Alan Bertram, 64, son Daniel, 34, and daughter Amy, 30, have praised the ‘wonderful’ staff who looked after her – and them – during those heartbreaking final days.
"It was the worst experience of our lives, having somebody in intensive care and not being able to be with them, but the staff made the it slightly more bearable – they went above and beyond,” said Amy, a newly-qualified midwife.
“They were always happy to speak to us – even five or six times a day – and would give her a hug from us.”
She added: “When we went to say goodbye we were allowed in a separate room with a window and the nurse sat holding mum’s hand the whole time.
"They even sent us a sympathy card.
"It really made a difference knowing that she wasn’t just another number to them.”
The Go Fund Me campaign, set up in Catherine’s memory, has so far raised almost £2,300 for the ITU ward.
And Catherine’s work colleagues have also raised hundreds through a memorial fund.
"We couldn’t have a donation box at the funeral and we wanted to thank them for how they cared for us,” Amy said.
“People don’t often speak out to praise staff when their loved one hasn’t walked out of the ward, but they are worth their weight in gold.”
She added: “Mum was the most caring person, fun and positive person and I know she would be so proud of us.
“She was the best mum in the word.”
Donate via Amy’s Go Fund Me page