Child protection advocate in recovery mode after battling COVID-19

Right now, there’s no shortage of people who are struggling, from the sick to the unemployed to the children currently locked-down inside abusive homes.

“When we think about those who are at risk for abuse, we look at a number of risk factors, and all of those risk factors are happening right now: social isolation, fear of financial security, food insecurity – all of the things that are potentially happening to these families are all happening at once,” explained Leah Fraley, the executive director of a child abuse prevention nonprofit, called SCAN of Northern Virginia.

Their services are needed now more than ever, but in mid-March, Fraley caught COVID-19.

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“I’m one of those people, like I work when I’m sick, you know what I mean? Like, ‘eh I’m not taking time off,’ and I just couldn’t. I just couldn’t,” she said Wednesday evening. “It was not like anything I’ve ever felt – ever.”

Fraley said she dealt with symptoms for about six weeks, at times being unable to breathe, dealing with acid reflux so bad she couldn’t even lie down, losing the ability to smell and taste, and also being more exhausted than ever before.

“I would get sick, and then I would think I was better, and then it would go a day, and I would be sicker the next day,” Fraley described. “It was just, it wouldn’t go away.”

But Fraley fought through it, leaning on her team at SCAN to move everything online and finding a way to help the most vulnerable among us – while also getting healthy herself.

“I’m proud of the relationships we’ve built with the families we work with, because when they were on the edge, they had somewhere to go, and I love that we were there, sick or not,” she said.

Fraley is now back to full health and said she hopes her story serves as inspiration for everybody else who’s out there struggling to make it through.

For more information about SCAN of Northern Virginia, including resources for families during the coronavirus pandemic, you can click here.