Renee Dermott should have turned 52 on Wednesday, but the beloved Pasco County teacher lost her life battling Covid 19 over the weekend.
To show just how much she was loved, more than 80 cars lined the streets in front of Dermott’s home, in a surprise birthday parade.
“Today is her birthday, and I think that her friends and her family are still in shock and grieving," Dermott’s co-worker and close friend, Kelly Edwards said. "And her birthday was very special for her, so this is just a way for us to honor her and let her family know how much she meant to us.”
Edwards talked about the last conversation she had with Dermott on Sunday -- right before she died.
“The last text I received from her that day was that she was very scared, and that she didn’t think she was going to make it, and she thought she was gonna die,” Edwards said.
“It’s one thing to see numbers on a TV, but then when you can put a name with a number of a death, it hits home.”
For Dermott’s birthday, Edwards and countless others wanted to focus more on the way she lived than how she died – something her family said she would’ve loved.
One of Dermott’s five children spoke after the parade wrapped up. Her family was clearly overcome and overwhelmed by emotion.
“She loved to give back, and I think seeing the community give back, she would’ve loved it and to know how many people actually do care,” her daughter said.
“I think seeing that before and after she passed was just amazing for her and for us, and we’re eternally grateful.”
In one of her last posts on Facebook, Dermott gave one final piece of advice:
“Don’t put off your dreams or they will be taken from you.”
It’s a sad ending to a life, those who knew her say, was well lived.
Dermott’s family said they’re still finalizing funeral arrangements for this Saturday. The GoFundMe account Dermott’s co-worker set up for her family has already raised $14,000 dollars and counting.