JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville woman is using a day she was expecting to celebrate with her husband as an opportunity to encourage others to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I became a widow 17 days before my first anniversary,” Roxie Lewis said.
Lewis lost her husband, Jefferson Elledge, on Aug. 12 from complications following a long battle against the coronavirus.
Sunday marks what would have been the couple’s first wedding anniversary.
Lewis thought she and her husband, who was affectionately called “Handsome,” would be celebrating their anniversary Sunday.
Instead, Lewis will be celebrating Jefferson’s life Sunday afternoon in Mayport.
In addition to honoring his life, Lewis is partnering with the Mayo Clinic to host a vaccination clinic at the Fleet Reserve on Mayport Road.
Lewis said Jefferson battled COVID-19 for more than a month and ended up beating it before suffering complications and dying. He originally planned to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine but was unexpectedly not available the day he planned to go.
Lewis said Jefferson did not follow through with finding a new date before ultimately contracting COVID-19 on July 1 and being hospitalized five days later.
Lewis used Facebook post of the moment Jefferson died to encourage people to get vaccinated.
She said that so far nearly 2,400 people have decided to get the shot because of the post. Lewis hopes more people make that same decision Sunday.
“How could you live with that if you knew you gave it to somebody, and they died,?” Lewis said. “I’ve been pushing my community to get the shot so his fight for his life that he lost will not be in vain, and all the other people who have died from this and may die from this, none of that will be in vain if people will step up and get the shot.”
The vaccination clinic at the Fleet Reserve will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday/
Lewis said there will be a celebration of life service at the Fleet Reserve, the place where the couple also got married in 2020, for Jefferson from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.