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Faces of COVID: Woman honors sister who died from COVID-19

Woman starts college in honor of sister
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Posted at 4:07 PM, Jan 29, 2021

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INDIANAPOLIS — Lena and Levia Heffner were two of six children, but their bond was always something special.

“We were just the closest,” Levia said.

Just a year apart, the two spent time together in foster homes which only brought them closer. Throughout the years they’ve done everything together, renting apartments and raising kids.

“We always lived by each other or lived together," Levia said. "She’s my kids second mom, I’m her son’s second mom. We’re just close-knit."

But in March of 2020, everything changed. Lena started getting sick. Levia said her sister always struggled with asthma and at the time assumed it was just that.


“Lena has asthma really bad our whole life she would be in and out of the hospital especially around that time around March and April when the season changed,” she said.

But then Lena started a fever. She went to the hospital and tested positive for COVID-19. Levia said her sister’s health only went downhill from there.

“On April 3rd the hospital called to let me know that they were putting her in an induced coma to put a breathing tube on her because she couldn't hardly breathe on her own,” Levia said.

The sisters were able to have one last talk before Lena was put under.

“The last thing she said to me was take care of my son and she said don’t be scared," Levia said. "She said 'Because I believe in God and if God is ready for me that’s where I’m going to be.'"


Lena died on April 16, 2020. She was 44 years old.

Levia has been looking over her sister’s 19-year-old son. She’s also decided to go back to school in honor of her sister.

"I’m going to Indiana Wesleyan University online," Levia said. "Me and my sister never when to college, never got a degree, so I’m doing this for me and her."

She plans to become a social worker to help children in their community. A mission she knows her sister would be proud of.

MORE STORIES | We're honoring the memories of these Hoosiers who died with COVID-19