WHEATON, IL — If you look at photos of Meghan Liddy, the first thing you notice is that the 25-year-old had an infectious smile that couldn’t be contained, much like her passion for helping others couldn’t be contained in her hometown of Wheaton. Liddy had traveled to Africa to do mission work multiple times before she moved there in 2012, Daily Herald reports, and was in Ghana to adopt two young girls when she contracted malaria and ultimately died from complications of the disease.
Liddy’s loved ones had started a GoFundMe page to raise money to bring her home for treatment. Now, they’re working to bring her body home so she can be buried near her family.
On Halloween, Liddy appeared in good spirits, despite the malaria diagnosis, when she made a post on Facebook asking her friends and family to send “good vibes and prayers and whatever else you got.” According to the GoFundMe page, the disease quickly Meghan was put on a ventilator just days after that post as complications from malaria led to sepsis and a pulmonary embolism.
She lost her battle with the illness Friday, according to an update from Liddy’s aunt, Trisha Hume-Steele that was posted online. Hume-Steele wrote, “My heart is broken. My sweet Meghan Liddy has gone to be with Jesus. Her precious children were with her. She was surrounded by their love.”
During her life, Liddy’s work touched many more people than the two girls, ages 8 and 11, and young boy who she was fostering. She co-founded Family First in Ghana to help families of children with disabilities. That organization’s Facebook page includes a quote of an African proverb that seems to speak to Liddy’s lifelong mission: “Children are the reward of life.”
As of Monday, the campaign to raise money for Liddy’s funeral had exceeded its $20,000 goal. Her family is hoping to bury her in Nebraska near her grandmother. In the update, Hume-Steele asked for continued prayers and said, “we are overwhelmed with sadness.”
Images via GoFundMe; Patch is a GoFundMe partner