Dr. Antoinette Helena Akita always wanted a grandson. She would have seen her wish come true this October, but sadly she died in April of the coronavirus.

Dr. Akita had spent a chunk of her time fighting a viral outbreak, only to be taken by another. When the H1N1 epidemic hit the US in 2009, she was on the frontlines of New York's fight against the virus.

She served as a supervising physician in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and worked long hours to prevent the spread of the pandemic in her beloved city, her only son Cyril says.

Ultimately, complications from another virus, the coronavirus, would cause her death 11 years later, her family told CNN.

Toni, as she was known to family and friends, was born August 24, 1951 in Queens, New York. She attended St. Pascal Baylon School in Queens and graduated in 1968, and went on to Fisk University in Nashville, where she got her college degree in 1972.

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