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SWFL woman regains ability to walk after recovering from COVID-19

A Southwest Florida woman contracted the coronavirus early at the onset of the pandemic in the country. We have continued to share her story as she makes positive steps toward recovery. She is out of the hospital, and now she is leaving her rehab facility.

Virginia Bennett has made leaps and bounds in her recovery from COVID-19. She is no longer at a rehabilitation center after spending the last month learning to walk again.

Bennett was one of the first COVID-19 patients to receive a plasma donation from NCH Heathcare System’s plasma study.

We spoke to Bennett and her family during her special day Wednesday. She was walking, talking, and her eyes were filled with tears of joy, as she celebrated her survival during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was given a 1% chance to live, and they told my children I would never walk again,” Bennett said. “Well, I proved them all wrong.”

Now, she has regained her health and her ability to walk. It wasn’t long ago she was unconscious and on a ventilator.

“It can be a downer looking at four walls for six months,” Bennett said. “I said, I’m getting out of jail today, everybody.’”

Bennett’s son and daughter believe their mom’s alive thanks to donated plasma from a COVID-19 survivor. Bennett got the treatment as part of a national study that NCH is involved in.

“I do believe it’s working,” said Jeff Bennett, Virginia’s son.

“September 9, 9/9/2020, and that’s going to be a day for us to celebrate, like a nana date from now on,” said Jennifer Grytza, Virginia’s daughter.

Bennett had to learn how to do everything all over again — breathe, eat, walk and talk.

“I didn’t know how sick I was nor how strong I would be and determined to meet my goals in therapy,” Bennett said.

As celebration, Bennett and family went for a treat.

“We’re going to Culvers for French fries,” she said.

Her family also believes prayer helped save their mom. When she went into the hospital, her family created a Facebook group called “Prayers for Nana Bennett.” People from around the world offered their prayers, including Pastor Joel Osteen.

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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