PLEASANT GARDEN, N.C. — Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, 68-year-old Ronnie Coltrane says he has a lot to be grateful for.
“I’m just a whole lot more thankful for being here and thankful for my family,” he said, sitting beside his wife, Audrey.
Coltrane spent 12 weeks in the hospital battling COVID-19. He was released to a cheering crowd outside a rehabilitation center in June after spending 40 days on a ventilator.
“The hospital said Ron was the worst case they’ve ever had, the worst one that’s ever survived. He was the sickest one to survive, and I just want to tell people out there today, there’s always hope,” Audrey said.
Family members and friends built the couple a ramp into their home, but Coltrane didn’t need it long.
“They told me in the hospital I’d be in a wheelchair for a month, that lasted a day,” Coltrane said. “They told me I’d be on a walker for two months, that lasted two weeks.”
He still has some lingering complications, but said he’s feeling great ahead of the holiday season.
“It’s going to be the most wonderful Thanksgiving we’ve ever had,” Audrey said. “We didn’t think we’d have him, but I just thank God for bringing him home to us.”
The couple has seven children, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. While they aren’t able to host their large family members all together, they plan to see them in shifts.
“We can’t hug on our grandchildren like we used to and love on them, but we want to keep them,” Audrey said.
For families still fighting the virus, the couple shared a message of hope:
“Don’t give up, no matter what you’re going through today, please don’t give up, just keep trusting God and keep praying, because he’s still there,” Audrey said.
The Coltranes thanked health care workers in the Cone Health System who cared for Coltrane, and other frontline staff members who wouldn’t be able to spend holidays with family.
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