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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Man with Down Syndrome is killed by coronavirus a week after it killed his mum

A man has died from coronavirus on his birthday a week after his carer mother also lost her life to the infection.

Thomas Martins, who has Down's Syndrome, succumbed to Covid-19 on his thirtieth birthday.

Just a week earlier, his mother Carolyn Martins-Reitz, who cared for him, died after contracting the coronavirus.

Just hours before he died staff at the Felician School in Lodi, New Jersey - a special needs school where Thomas studied - wished him happy birthday over video chat.

His friends hope that even though he was not conscious, Thomas picked up on the good wishes as he lay in intensive care at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville.

“Carolyn was completely wrapped up id Thomas and Thomas in her as well,” Dana Regan, a director at the school, told pix11.

“They were just very, very close. He was her world and she the same for him.

“Thomas was a very upbeat happy-go-lucky kind of guy, always smiling, super friendly.”

Joni Forte-Lewin, a neighbour of the mum and son, set up a fundraising page to pay for Carolyn's funeral and medical bills prior to Thomas's death.

"Carolyn was a talented fine artist and only 55 years of age," Joni wrote on the page.

"She worked in the art department of the Archdiocese of Newark, along with her daughter. Her constant smile and upbeat persona was uplifting to all who knew her.

"Since she moved in across the street from me in 1973, Carolyn has been the peas to my carrots for all of life’s milestones.

"My heart is broken for her family and the trials and financial burdens set before them."

Before Thomas died, Joni wrote of him: "He is my godson and the sweetest young man, who brings love and light to everyone he encounters."

Thomas and Carolyn leave behind his step-dad and her husband Rudy Reitz, a Marine veteran, and the couple's daughter Sharon, 22.

Joni added: "This family has been devastated by the coronavirus. Their world has been turned upside down."

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