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Pregnant Va. mom of 4 dies: Wasp stings trigger brain condition

A pregnant woman in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, died suddenly last week in her own backyard after being stung multiple times by wasps, doctors say. But it wasn't the stings that ultimately killed the young mother of four. An aneurysm in her brain provided the fatal blow, the New York Daily News reported August 1.

Sarah Harkins, 32, was in her backyard Monday (July 28) when she disturbed a wasp nest. Attacked and stung several times, the stings set off an allergic reaction that rendered her unconscious.

"She fell unconscious and went to the hospital, and it was discovered there was a brain aneurysm, and during the trauma of it all, it burst and caused her death," Tom Schulzetenberg, Sarah's brother told NBCWashington.

Doctors were able to revive the young mother for a short while, which is when they discovered the aneurysm.

Her brother said that his sister had always wanted a big family. Everybody loved her. She was a stay-at-home mom that home-schooled her children and made rosary beads, which sold online. But her death, he said, was "something that you never really prepare for. We're doing our best to hold each other up."

The unborn child, unfortunately, died with her mother. The little girl would have been named Cecilia Rachel.

To add to the family tragedy, Saturday, August 2, would have been the mother of four's 33rd birthday.

As can be expected, Sarah Harkins' husband, Eric, has been devastated by the death of his wife, whom he met in 2005 at a Catholic university. According to Schulzetenberg, the grieving father was "not equipped" to raise the family by himself. The family and Eric Harkins' co-workers have each set up donation websites for the father and his four children -- to alleviate the financial burden of Sarah Harkins' passing and to also help raise the children and provide for their future education.

“Sarah’s absence leaves a massive gap in the lives of these children,” reads the message on the fundraising website. “Sarah’s husband Eric will need assistance in fulfilling his wife’s wishes for the children to have a faith-based education, continue on a wholesome and natural diet, and support a special needs child.”

While the fundraiser has brought in over $60,000 in donations, the fundraising page has amassed over $147,000 in its first five days.

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