A New York City man is finally heading home after spending more than four months in hospital fighting COVID-19.
Larry Kelly, 64, walked out of the New Jewish Home to rapturous applause on Wednesday – 128 days after he was first admitted to nearby Mount Sinai Morningside suffering symptoms of the coronavirus.
Crowds of medical staff who cared for Kelly stood cheering as he embraced his wife for the first time since March 17.
‘I gotta believe that it’s my own willpower and all of their support. I believe that in my bones,’ an tearful Kelly stated, gesturing towards his family and healthcare workers.
Kelly spent 51 days on a ventilator and suffered both seizures and infections.
Kelly’s brother was left stunned by his persistence and dubbed him ‘Miracle Larry’.
‘I was in a very dark place, but something pulled me out. And if that’s a miracle, that’s a miracle!,’ he told NBC 4.
Meanwhile, the retired high school assistant principal credited his wife, Dawn, with ‘saving his life’.
Just before he was put on a ventilator, Kelly texted his wife writing: ‘I’ll never give up’.
Dawn told assembled news media on Wednesday that she clung to those words throughout her husband’s ordeal.
‘My wife saved my life, she wouldn’t let them pull the plug,’ Kelly stated.
Meanwhile, Kelly’s daughter, Jackie, was also on hand to witness her father’s incredible walk out if hospital.
‘It gets tough. You kind of have to hold on to as much hope as you can,’ she told NBC 4.
The Kelly family told CBS 2 that a ‘turning point’ came on Easter Sunday April 12, when he opened his eyes for the first time in almost a month.
He tearfully told the crowd: ‘579 people died on Easter Sunday, and I didn’t. I’m very blessed.’
Kelly stays he is still working his way to feeling 100 percent better, and is often short of breath.
While he was able to walk out of the hospital, a crowd of supporters pushed him in a wheelchair to one of his favorite local spots – Dive Bar, on the Upper West Side.
Dive Bar’s owner, Lee Seinfeld, has known Kelly for years, and had a sign that read ‘Lets Go Miracle Larry’ plastered up in his bar.
Meanwhile, Kelly had a message to share with those across the country, as the coronavirus crisis continues to worsen.
‘I wouldn’t wish this on anybody, so, please, wear your mask,’ he stated.