San Diegans are remembering a local father, coach, and musician who died after contracting the coronavirus.
Jayme Mejia was a dedicated father of eight children and heavily involved in his community. Before the pandemic, his reggae band, JamKwest, would play music venues all over San Diego County.
“They would do the Del Mar Fair, they’d be at Balboa Park all the time doing shows for Bob Marley Day,” said Robert Mejia, Jayme Mejia’s son.
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Jayme Mejia’s passion inspired his son, Robert Mejia, to start his own music and film company.
“He was just really loving,” said Robert Mejia. “He just made sure that all eight of us had the best father."
Jayme Mejia was born and raised in San Diego and worked in construction to support his family. While his children celebrate his accomplishments, they are also mourning.
In December, Jayme Mejia tested positive for COVID-19.
“Everything was fine for about nine days, then he starts breathing really heavy,” said Robert Mejia.
Jayme Mejia was rushed to the hospital after suffering breathing problems and was quickly put on a ventilator. His family says Jayme suffered from diabetes.
While in the hospital, Jayme Mejia also suffered kidney failure. Despite the grim outlook, it appeared that after a few days, his condition was improving.
“All of a sudden he was off the ventilator and he was up so, I thought he was ok and then boom he passed away from a heart attack,” said Robert Mejia.
On Jan. 11, Jayme Mejia said his final goodbye to the love of his life, his high school sweetheart, Lekicia.
“He woke up and got to tell my mom he loved her. At least he didn’t die on the ventilator. We got to talk to him one last time,” said Robert Mejia.
Jayme Mejia’s family remembers him for also taking care of other people’s children. During the holidays, he would dress up as Santa and hand out gifts to families in need. He was also active in coaching youth sports.
“He would get off work and pick up other people’s kids to make sure they got to practice,” said Robert Mejia.
Jayme Mejia’s son fears his father contracted COVID-19 while coaching basketball and is concerned about the push to restart youth competitive sports.
“For most kids, they can get through it, but it’s mostly for the older people and underlying conditions that are going to get hurt from it, you know?" he said.
Robert Mejia hopes lessons can be learned from his father’s death while keeping his dad’s legacy alive.
Jayme Mejia’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help with final expenses.