A wife and mother died in her sleep in front of her children while traveling from Hong Kong back to the United Kingdom with her family on Aug. 5. Family and friends of Helen Rhodes have set up a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses.

Those who knew Rhodes describe her as a “devoted wife and mother” and “the glue that held her family together.”

“Helen was found unresponsive a few hours into the flight,” the GoFundMe reads. “Despite all efforts, Helen was not able to be resuscitated. This all unfolded in front of her children. For the remaining eight hours of the flight, Helen lay in a breathless sleep in her seat.”

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Once the family landed in Frankfurt, Germany, her husband and two children had to continue the trip without her. According to Helen’s family, her body remained in Germany for protocol reasons.

Relocating After Spending 15 Years In Hong Kong

Helen and her family planned to relocate back to the UK after spending more than 15 years in Hong Kong, where she worked as a midwife.

“Helen was excited and nervous about the move but looked forward to seeing her family back home, as she had not seen her family or aging parents since the pandemic began,” her friend, Jayne Jeje, says on the GoFundMe campaign. “Sadly, she never got to see them again.”

During her time in Hong Kong’s Tung Chung community, Helen was known as the pulse.

“She couldn’t walk a few feet and not run into someone she knew by name,” Jeje adds. “Helen always made herself available to help others. She was clever, witty, and generous with her time.”

Jeje is hoping to raise £20,000, which is a little more than $24,000. The money will go towards funeral costs, including transferring her body to the UK.

“This fundraiser is to honor this lovely woman loved by so many [and] a dear friend who touched so many people,” says Jeje. “We can only hope she knew how much she meant to us and how her void can never be filled.”

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