A mother whose 4-year-old son nearly died from a rare COVID-19 complication is speaking out to spread awareness.
Monica Morton and her son, Mason, tested positive for COVID-19 this winter after spending time with Morton's aunt, who herself had been exposed to the respiratory virus, she told CNN.
While Morton recovered, her son started developing neck pain and a rash on his hands, prompting concern from the mom.
"First, he kept telling me, 'Mom, my neck hurts. My neck hurts,' "Morton recalled. "And I noticed this huge rash like all over his body, on his palms of his hands."
She added, "I called his doctor and they told me to just get him to the E.R."
In February, doctors diagnosed Mason with multisystem inflammatory syndrome, also known as MIS-C when found in children, a rare but serious condition associated with COVID-19 where different body parts can become inflamed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's been found that "many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19."
Morton said that Mason ended up spending a month in the hospital. During that time, her husband Raheem, who was deployed overseas with the U.S. Air Force, took an emergency leave to rush back home to be with their son.
"He had to be put on a ventilator, and he had fluid around his heart and in his lungs," Morton told CNN of her son. "He had blood clots and it just progressed like really really fast."
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"Just watching your child go through that and for weeks, not knowing if they're going to make it, ... I wouldn't wish that on anybody," continued Morton.
"He ended up spending 30 days in the hospital and we almost lost him," she said.
While caring for Mason in the hospital, Morton was also concerned for her two other children — son Maddox and daughter Nori — who stayed with relatives during the ordeal.
"It was super hard," she said. "Every day was constant worrying about Mason and worrying about the other two. It was hard."
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Now, Morton is sharing her family's story in hope of cautioning other parents about MIS-C, which can affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain and gastrointestinal organs.
"I think there is not enough awareness spread about MIS-C. I didn't know anything about MIS-C so when he got the rash and the fever and the neck pain, I had no clue," she said. "But if I knew then what I knew now, that MIS-C existed, I would've brought him in that first day."
Mason added, "If I would've waited any longer, he might not be here today."
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up in support of Morton and her family. As of Monday, it has raised over $23,100.
"This is also a reminder to keep our babies close to us, life is too short and these moments with our babies are fleeting," the fundraiser's description reads.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.