Memphis children lose mother to diabetes, raise money for burial - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Memphis children lose mother to diabetes, hold fundraiser for burial

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Lee's family says she died from complications of diabetes and hypertension. (Photo Source: family) Lee's family says she died from complications of diabetes and hypertension. (Photo Source: family)
Because Lee did not have insurance, the girls and their aunt are selling sno-cones and washing cars to raise money for a burial. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Because Lee did not have insurance, the girls and their aunt are selling sno-cones and washing cars to raise money for a burial. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Four Memphis children are raising money for a final gift for their mother: a proper burial.

Wileen Lee died at the age of 45 in part from complications of a disease that affects nearly 12 percent of all adults in Shelby County — diabetes.

Jermika Eason joined her three sisters along busy Getwell Road to raise money for their mother days after her death.

Eason found 45-year-old Lee lying in her bed last weekend.

"She looked like she was at peace when she was laying there," said Eason. "I was trying to wake her up and I was calling her name. I was telling her to wake up, but she wouldn't get up."

Viewers driving by called WMC Action News 5 about the kids they saw on the side of the road.

Nine-year-old Malaysia Horton was Lee's youngest daughter.

"I thought she was the best mom ever," said Horton. "I'll miss when she smiles."

The girl's aunt, Lacey Simmons, helped the children organize a funeral fundraiser, which included a car wash and a sno-cone stand.

"I'm going to have to take them in my care, along with my four. So, I have eight now," said Simmons.

Lee's family says she died from complications of diabetes and hypertension. She did not have insurance.

Harold Ford Funeral Home is handling the arrangements, which may cost more than $2,000, but her kids are committed to a dignified farewell.

"We know she's in heaven with our grandma and the rest of our family," noted Eason.

According to the American Diabetes Association, African-Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes compared to the general population. In fact, nearly 19 percent of all African-Americans age 20 or older have diabetes.

In Shelby County, diabetes mortality rates for that same group are significantly higher than the national average.

To learn more about diabetes, visit the websites below:



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