ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This March marks three years since COVID shutdowns and infections started causing chaos across the country. It’s estimated that over 1 million people have since died from the virus. A new bill introduced at the New York State Capitol seeks to help kids who lost their parents to the illness.

Veronica Fletcher came up to Albany from New York City to tell the story of how losing her husband of 16 years, Joseph, to COVID-19, continues to impact her children. She said while her son impressively graduated from high school early, his college choices were limited.

“Despite this major demonstration of academic aptitude and emotional resilience, without my husband alive, Josh could not afford to attend the university of his choice,” Fletcher said during a press conference at the Capitol Wednesday.

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara pointed to research that found more than 310,000 children in the U.S. under 18 have lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19. He explained how his proposed legislation could bring hope to their futures.

“It’s an academic scholarship. It will assist children with continuing higher education, academic needs, and a number of other items that are specified in the bill. This will be the first bill like this here in New York State, and I hope other states will do the same,” Santabarbara said.

The bill has the support of groups like COVID Survivors For Change, which offers mental health resources for those impacted by the disease, as well as COVID Wellness Clinic, which provides long-COVID care guidance for people who still experience symptoms long after the infectious period. It was created by COVID long-hauler Maya McNulty. NEWS10 has been following her journey to walk and talk again since 2020.

Today, McNulty stands behind the COVID-19 scholarships bill, while continuing her fight to help people get care for their long-COVID symptoms after leaving the hospital.

“I have found that it takes months to find a doctor, because it does affect over ten different organ systems,” McNulty explained, “so you need a specialist like a pulmonologist, a cardiologist, an oncologist.”

For more of Maya’s story watch our profile of her journey to recovery.