KANSAS CITY, Mo. — What was supposed to be a dream vacation to Africa turned deadly for a Kansas City woman. Now, her family wants their mom back home to say goodbye.
The family said their mother caught malaria while visiting West Africa and she died. She was a mother to five and grandmother to eight.
“This is going to be a hard journey for us,” Crystal Clayton said.
Crystal and her four siblings, including a 7-year-old, face grief after mom Latrice Clayton died on her dream vacation on the Ivory Coast in West Africa.
Daughter Daianna Mashak said it will cost more than $15,000 to bring their mom’s body home. She said $3,000 for medical bill and more than 12,000 to prep the body and ship it back to KC.
“We can’t even grieve because she’s not here,” Mashak said.
The 46-year-old was visiting a friend in Abidjan. Two days in she felt nauseous and went to the clinic. Clayton caught malaria.
“She got all mandatory shots and required vaccinations,” Crystal said.
Crystal said she was also taking the pill that’s supposed to prevent malaria.
Malaria only stayed in her system for a few days. After that, doctors suggested she seek further treatment in the U.S.
Her daughters bought Clayton a plane ticket to come home, but her blood pressure was too high to travel.
The U.S. Embassy told them an air ambulance would cost about $200,000.
“So now I’m really hurt,” Crystal said. “It really seems like they don’t care at all — at all, and I feel like if they would’ve moved a little faster, maybe she would’ve, could still be here.”
Then Clayton suffered a stroke. Crystal said she stopped breathing and doctors rushed her into surgery.
She came out in a coma and died two days later.
“It hurts, it hurts,” Crystal said. “I’m still young. I’m only 26 years old. I never thought I’d walk the day at this age without my mother, not right now.”
Mashak said Clayton taught them to stick together, that family is everything, even if their rock is gone.
“Our mom was like our best friend, all of us, literally,” Mashak said.