After COVID-19 Took His Pregnant Fiancé, Leu Dixon Learning To Be A Single Father

Leu Dixon proposed to Tamika Anderson on June 3 at the Seagrille restaurant on Sparks Avenue. She said yes. 

Tamika Anderson

The couple, originally from Jamaica, were already expecting their first child and preparing for a new life together on Nantucket. Dixon, an island resident since 2010 who works in construction and as a prep cook at the LemonPress restaurant on Main Street, couldn’t have been happier. 

But just weeks before her due date, Tamika fell ill. On Aug. 9th, she was diagnosed with COVID-19, and two days later her symptoms grew so severe she sought care at Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Tamika was gravely ill, and clinicians called for a Medflight helicopter to transfer her to Massachusetts General Hospital. Physicians at MGH opted to perform a C-section, and Avanae Dixon, a healthy baby girl, was born. 

But Tamika’s fight with COVID-19 was just beginning. The 35-year-old spent the next six weeks in the ICU fighting the virus and for a time had to be placed on a ventilator just to keep her breathing. Tamika was strong, though, and slowly she improved and appeared as if she was on the road to recovery.

“I thought she was going to make it,” Dixon said. “I saw her in the hospital and she was doing good.” 

So good, in fact, that MGH physicians moved her out of the ICU in mid-September to a lower level of care within the hospital. Two days later, however, Tamika was readmitted to the ICU. Her organs were failing, and on Sept. 20th, she passed away. She never got to see her baby daughter. 

“She was a really good person,” Dixon said. “She always encouraged me to do better in every way.”

Today baby Avanae is back on Nantucket with Dixon, who is suddenly a single father attempting to process the loss of his fiance while raising an infant daughter on his own.  Since he and Tamika were not yet married, Dixon is also having to jump through hoops with the state Department of Children & Families to obtain full custody of his daughter, and will soon submit to a paternity test. Meanwhile, he’s also planning for Tamika’s funeral next month back in Jamaica. 

“That’s our only child, and now she (Tamika) don’t get to enjoy her,” Dixon said in the living room of his mid-island apartment as Avanae slept in the bedroom. “So I have to do my best to take care of her.” 

And now Dixon’s co-workers are rallying to help him in in the wake of the tragedy. LemonPress owner Rachel Afshari is spearheading a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Dixon and Avanae to cover rent, childcare and other expenses. The page has already received commitments of nearly $9,000. 

“I cannot speak highly enough about Leu,” Afshari wrote. “He is and always has been a diligent, reliable, hardworking member of our team. It is the collective hope of his LemonPress family that we’re able to help him in any way possible to get through this tought time.” 

Dixon said Tuesday that he was incredibly appreciative for the support he’s already received from his co-workers, friends, family and others on the island. 

“I’m getting there,” Dixon said. “I’m doing my best.”

Click here to donate to the GoFundMe page dedicated to helping Leu and Avanae. 

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