BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In a matter of a year, more than 7,700 people have died from COVID-19 in Maryland.

Fewer than 10 of those victims have been children, but a serious COVID-related disease has been attacking kids and doctors are still trying to understand this dangerous and mysterious problem.

Tyona Montgomery remembered the exact moment the symptoms came on.

When they disappeared after a few days, she thought she beat COVID-19. Weeks later, more aggressive symptoms emerged. 

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“I was in the hospital for two weeks,” Montgomery said. “I would have good days and bad days.”

Things got so bad she started wondering if her 18th birthday would be her last.

“I had asked the lady, at Saint Agnes, I said, Am I going to die?” Montgomery said. “She kept saying, no, you’re not going to die.”

Tyona Montgomery. Photo contributed.

“She had fluid on her lungs, she had heart failure, her insides were inflamed,” Tyona’s mother, Kristia Reynolds, said.

Montgomery had multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.

The disease wreaks havoc on children’s bodies. It attacks organs, and for Tyona, her heart was struggling to work properly.

“It’s really hard to know, we think the MISC is an overwhelming response of the body as it tries to fight the virus,” Dr. Lasya Gaur, Pediatric Cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, said.

Another Maryland teen, Daryana Dyson, had one of the first confirmed cases. She died last year in the early weeks of the pandemic.

“It’s tiring. It makes you wanna give up,” Montgomery said. “I never thought this would happen to me.”

It’s been weeks since Montgomery has been out of the hospital. She has to take medication for her heart and blood pressure. There’s also physical therapy.

“You don’t know what to expect,” Reynolds said. “That’s the worst thing, she doesn’t eat. I have to make her eat because she takes medicine at six in the morning.”

Doctors are still learning about this inflammatory disease that’s manifesting in many cases after children tested positive for COVID-19. As research continues, the hope is that these children will make a full recovery.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Ava-joye Burnett