CONNECTICUT – Luciana Lira undoubtedly went beyond her duty as a teacher by agreeing to care for her student’s newborn brother for a month while the family recovers from the coronavirus.
Lira, from Connecticut, received a phone call in early April from Zully, the mother of one of her students. Zully was 8 months pregnant, about to give birth and fighting COVID-19. Zully called to ask if the elementary school teacher could contact her husband, who does not speak much English, and meet him at Stamford Hospital.
Upon arrival, the family asked Lira if she could care for her newborn Neysel until they found out if the boy’s father and 7-year-old brother were also infected. Lira did not hesitate to help.
“This shouldn’t happen. This father, who loves his son, who loves his son so much, can’t even get close to his son. I felt extremely depressed and sad. I’m a stranger taking the baby home,” she said. Turn to The Courant newspaper.
Neysel was born 5 weeks prematurely by emergency caesarean, and Zully was put on a ventilator, according to Lira. Miraculously, the baby didn’t have COVID-19 and it’s fine.
Lira’s friend and colleague at work, Joy Colon, says that the hospital nurses asked her if Lira was related to Zully because she was listed as the primary contact, and Lira replied, “I’m just a teacher.”
But, Lira is not just a teacher. While keeping up with the virtual curriculum, she also cares for her own son and husband. Even after taking the baby in, Lira continues to find ways she can offer support to Zully.
Lira started a GoFundMe to help raise money for her student’s family to cover medical and grocery expenses. After spending three weeks in the hospital and receiving the experimental plasma treatment, Zully was allowed to return home in late April, but she is still COVID-19 positive.
Lira just hopes baby Neysel can reunite with her family for Mother’s Day.
Colon’s tribute to Lira perfectly sums up her friend’s act of kindness. Colon said: “Essential workers are working every day. We are all at home, working and seeking to understand this new normal that took us all by surprise. But this selfless act reminds us that our humanity makes all of us essential … one for the other. How will each of us respond when asked to simply show up and help? “