Remains of Sacramento woman who died of flu in South Korea return home

SACRAMENTO – A Sacramento family is resting easier knowing that the remains of their loved one are back home.

Andrea Godina, 32, was teaching English to children in Seoul, South Korea, where she had been living on and off since 2008.

Godina got sick with the flu and died less than a week later on January 19.

Her family said they felt as if South Korean officials were holding Andrea hostage until they could pay they medical and cremation fees, which ended up costing $24,000.

Godina's family raised enough money through car washes and a crowdfunding website.

Thursday, Godina's mother Kathy Ruiz finally returned from South Korea to Sacramento with her daughter's remains.

Family and friends were anxiously waiting.

"It's amazing to get here and finally have her home, and celebrate her life," Ruiz said. "For me, it's like it's still in a tunnel and the realization is still not there."

The family plans to hold a celebration of life ceremony for Godina soon.

Godina's mother says her daughter did have a flu shot. She said her asthma complicated her illness.

She urges everyone to get a flu shot and to visit a doctor as soon as they feel sick.


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