KC metro COVID-19 survivor reflects on health journey

US records 500,000 virus-related deaths
Shakell Avery.png
Posted at 9:28 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 00:05:31-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The United States hit a grim milestone Monday, recording more than 500,000 deaths related to COVID-19. It’s a sobering statistic for families in the Kansas City metro who have lost loved ones, as well as those who call themselves COVID Survivors.

“I am definitely blessed to be here,” Shakell Avery, a COVID-19 survivor, said.

The 24-year-old spent weeks on a ventilator, fighting for his life.

Doctors diagnosed him with COVID-19 in April, when he arrived to the hospital complaining of chills, high fever, body aches and shortness of breath. The next day, Avery was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit.

He was the first patient in the metro to receive a convalescent plasma transfusion, which helped him recover. Months later, he returned to Menorah Medical Center to thank his doctors and nurses.

“Seeing pictures and videos and documents of where I was and the condition I was in, every day is a moment because it could have easily been taken away from me,” Avery said.

While there were many dark times over the past year, hospitals found unique ways to celebrate moments of good.

St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute held a sendoff for a 73-year-old Everidge Cade.

Cade initially went to the hospital due to shortness of breath. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April and spent 30 days on a ventilator and months in recovery.

Nathan List, a physical therapist who worked with Cade, said he still remembers the day Cade was able to go home.

“One of the first questions we ask our patients is what is your goal here in therapy and here at the Institute? How can we help you achieve that goal?" List said. "And his was to get home and get back to his family.

"Those success stories in any part of therapy really make the job worth it, but especially right now with the way things are in the world, it makes it that much better to see someone like that get home.”