The Cape Cod community is mourning this week for the loss of one of their local public health and environment champions, Lee Ann Mannillo, who died a new mom at the age of 41 years old on Thursday, May 8, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Mannillo died from complications a day after giving birth to her twin boys, Nicholas and Van.
Lee and her husband Richard Mannillo lived in Pocasset, Mass.
A registered sanitarian, Lee worked for 12 years at the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment as an environmental coordinator, working to address hoarding and health risks of dirty and toxic homes in the community.
Her coworkers at the county called Mannillo “a woman of action” who “was always happy and eager to help” when they were interviewed about her death in The Cape Cod Times.
Mannillo’s friends and family have set up an online memorial fund for the twin boys in honor of their mother, which has raised more than $53,000 so far.
Here is the introduction on the fundraiser page:
“With a tremendous outpouring of support this fund is a way for friends and family to make donations in an effort to provide immediate help for our dear friend and his two new baby boys Nicholas Paul and Van William Mannillo. Thanks for your help and support.”
The online fundraiser page at YouCaring.com has comments from friends, family, coworkers, as well as strangers and members of the community. The fundraiser page has been shared more than 2,600 times on Facebook.
One comment is from nurse Jody Shea, who says she works as a nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Natal Intensive Care Unit.
My Name is Jody. I am a nurse at BWH in the Nicu. I have cared for these boys and their story is one that is filled with utter disparity over the loss if such a young beautiful mother, and of the miracle she brought forth before her passing. Keeping all of the family in my heart. These boys are a precious gift and I'm sure their mom is watching over them.
There’s also a heartbreaking photo of new dad Richard Mannillo, holding his newborn sons close to his chest.
In the 20th century, the rate of pregnancy-related deaths fell significantly in the United States due to advances in medicine and technology, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A pregnancy-related death is defined, according to the CDC, as the death of a woman while pregnant or within one year of the pregnancy ending.
In 2009, the most recent available data, there were 17.8 pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births. Causes of death are unknown for 5.3 percent of pregnancy-related deaths.
Visiting hours at the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home in West Falmouth are today from 4 to 7 p.m. There is a memorial service for Mannillo at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 15 at the same funeral home in West Falmouth. You can read Mannillo’s obituary in The Boston Globe.Chelsea Rice is a health producer for Boston.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaRice.