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Nurse with ties to Indianapolis honored on New York Times front page

Posted at 12:01 AM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 00:20:48-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Kious Kelly, believed to be the first nurse to die of COVID-19 in New York City, was one of the names mentioned on Sunday's front page of the New York Times.

A thousand names were listed, showing just a fraction of those who've died as our country nears 100,000 deaths.

Kious Kelly's sister, Marya Sherron, is working to make sure her brother's death is not in vain.

"His life and his message, there's so much more," Sherron said. "We need to learn to love one another and walk with another."

Since he died, Kious has been honored at a vigil. The nurses he worked with have received donations of personal protective equipment and a little more support from the hospital, but his family wishes the help would've come sooner.

"I feel bad for saying it, but it's a day late and a dollar short," Sherron said.

Beyond the headlines, she wants people to know more about Kelly.

"His birth name was Marion James Smith IV, so growing up I either called him James, Jamie, or brother," Sherron said.

The name Kious came from his maternal grandfather who refused to be in his life because he was biracial.

"I don't know all the layers of what it means because it was interesting when he chose Kious because he legally changed his name. This was our grandfather who wished him dead," Sherron said.

While she'll never be able to ask about his name change or other things in his life, she knows he wouldn't want her to dwell on it. She's doing what she says he would want her to do, tell his story and change the world.

Sherron is pushing for legislation to require all hospitals, public and private, to provide PPE approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for all healthcare workers.

She's calling it The Kious Kelly Protection for Healthcare Workers Act. She wants it to start in New York and then expand nationwide.