A COVID-19 patient, admitted to a New York City hospital 128 days ago, has finally gone home. It was a heart-swelling moment for the patient’s family, one they weren’t sure would come. Back in March they were told to say their goodbyes, but the patient, “Miracle Larry” as he came to be known, had other plans.
A few days ago Larry Kelly, a 64 year-old retired high school assistant principal, finally walked out of the medical facility he’d been admitted to in March. He was back on his feet, surrounded by loved ones when he left.
“I gotta believe that it’s my own willpower and all of their support. I believe that in my bones,” he said.
Larry was hospitalized March 17 for complications from Coronavirus, and he was put on a ventilator for 51 days. At one point, his future was looking so grim that Larry’s family was called in to say their final goodbyes, but he never gave up hope–and neither did they.
“It gets tough. You kind of have to hold on to as much hope as you can,” said his daughter, Jackie Kelly.
“My wife saved my life. She wouldn’t let them pull the plug,” Larry said. For months, his wife held fast to the last words her husband texted her before he was put on a ventilator: “I’ll never stop fighting.”
“I said I promise I’ll never stop fighting, and I kept my promise,” Larry said.
While Larry was fighting, he gleaned hope from the love and support of his community. A sign that read “Let’s go miracle Larry” was posted at his favorite bar, Dive Bar, at 96th Street.
So upon being released from New Jewish Home medical facility last Wednesday, his first stop was to that neighborhood bar, to see the sign they’d put up rooting him on.
“Without regulars, without people like Larry, we don’t exist. So he’s part of our family,” said Dive Bar owner, Lee Seinfeld.
After holding out faith for 128 days, Larry is a survivor, and he has some words of wisdom for the rest of us.
“I wouldn’t wish this on anybody, so, please, wear your mask,” he said. “Never stop fighting. No matter how tough life gets, don’t give up.”
Larry is still recovering, and he’s looking forward to eventually writing about the harrowing experience. But for now, he’s excited to celebrate his 65th birthday with friends and family next month.