Family scrambles to bring deceased relative back from S. Korea

6:34 AM, Jan 21, 2014   |    comments
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Andrea Godina's family tries to raise money to bring her body home from South Korea.

SACRAMENTO - A Sacramento family is mourning the loss of a woman who died of the flu.

Andrea Godina, 32, passed away on Saturday while working abroad. The family was told they would have to pay thousands of dollars to bring her home to be buried.

Godina lived and worked in South Korea - more than 5,000 miles from Sacramento.

"She was very bubbly, alive, outgoing, always happy," said her sister, Leticia Sisneros.

Godina was living in South Korea where she taught English to hundreds of students. That is until last week when got sick with the flu, then got pneumonia and died.

"Friday, my mom spoke to her and Saturday, we couldn't talk to her anymore and by that time at 9 o'clock, she passed," said Sisneros.

The UC Davis grad started working in Korea in 2008. She occasionally came back to Sacramento to visit her family but her passion for teaching kept her overseas.

"She loved all her students, all her students were like her kids," said best friend, Maribel Rojas.

Godina's friends and family say she was living her dream but they would constantly worry about her health.

"I said, you need to go get that flu shot because it helps, it really does help," said Rojas. It's unclear whether Godina got the flu shot.

Relatives are now scrambling to raise enough money to bring her home. "They want their $13,900 to be paid of medical debt before they will even release her body to us to allow us to cremate her," said Sisneros.

On Monday, the family held a car wash fundraiser outside a local taco shop in Sacramento .  Cars kept pulling into the parking lot to help the family bring their loved one home.

"She is coming home. I don't care what we have to do, she will come home," said Carmen McEntee, Godina's grandmother.

A local car club even came out to lend their support to a woman who touched so many lives, both in Korea and the U.S.

They family has set up a fundraising account online. Go to to make a donation.


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