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Delano High School senior loses both parents to COVID-19

Posted at 10:48 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 02:25:19-05

DELANO, Calif. (KERO) — Delano High School students and staff rallied behind a student who recently lost both her mother and father due to complications of COVID-19. 23ABC spoke with someone close to the family to find out how they are coping during these trying times.

Shauna Gravelle, the girl's basketball coach at Delano High, said her team is like family and she often keeps in close contact with her student-athletes. Through this, she learned that one of her seniors, Nicole Bonifacio, had parents in the hospital.

“I wished her a Happy Thanksgiving and asked how her parents were. And unfortunately, they had both passed.”

Gravelle said she was told that they passed due to COVID-19 complications.

“I think because of what COVID did to their bodies, their hearts both stopped. But I think they were four days apart. The dad died first, then the mom died after.”

Gravelle said the experience has been eye-opening.

“It's easy to think it's not going to happen to you if it doesn't happen to you, but when it hits this close to home it really puts things in perspective and it makes you want to hug the people you want to hug.”

Nicole Bonifacio

As Bonifacio’s coach, Gravelle felt she had to step up in the only way she knew how - to provide support - and hopes others do the same.

“They have eight people living under one roof. To go through something like that. It's really important that we as a community and a school community come together and it's been really amazing so far the support people have given.”

It’s unknown if the parents had pre-existing health conditions. We did not directly reach out to the family as Gravelle said they are very overwhelmed at this time.

According to a GoFundMe page set up by Gravelle to help the family, Nicole has "aspirations to one day become a nurse."

It goes on to say: "Nicole's plan is to go to the military to be able to save up for school and a house to honor her mom's dream of owning a home for her kids. Attending college is an opportunity for Nicole to make her parents proud. Money raised will help her achieve her dream, as high school graduation is merely five months away. "