Dad Who Beat Coronavirus After Cancer Diagnosis Gets Own Parade When He Returns Home

https://youtube.com/watch?v=rO2WAFMTXrU

A 48-year-old father from Indiana was welcomed home with a personal parade after he survived a case of coronavirus that left him hospitalized on a ventilator.

Paul Lee and his wife Julie began to experience symptoms similar to coronavirus on March 16, according to WTHR.

While it only took Julie a few days to recover, Lee’s condition continued to worsen in the following days.

“It moved to where he couldn’t walk and he couldn’t talk,” Julie recalled to the news station of her husband, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. “I said to him influenza B doesn’t cause you to not be able to walk or talk.”

Lee — who shares a “blended family” of eight children with his wife — was then transported to a local hospital on March 24, where he was placed on a ventilator.

With things looking dire, Lee’s neighbors pitched in to help his family during their time of need.

“Nobody could leave to get groceries or dinner, so everyone chipped in and made sure that somebody took them a meal every night,” neighbor Ami Rice told WTHR.


They did anything they could to help, such as making food for the family or paying for food delivery services, the news station reported.

All the while, Julie and their children couldn’t visit Lee in the hospital due to coronavirus restrictions. To help their emotional wellbeing, the family put up pictures of him all around their home.

“On my bed, on my phone, on my iPad, just because I missed him so much and I just wanted to see his face,” Julie told WTHR.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the family and has so far raised $1,700.

Though Lee suffered “many setbacks” during his stay at the hospital, he eventually improved and was cleared for discharge on April 16.

But his neighbors weren’t going to let him come home without a fitting celebration.

“We need to give him a ticker-tape parade or something that’s going to make him feel better and welcome him back home,” neighbor Karen Cumings told the news station. “He deserves it after struggling with cancer originally and now the coronavirus.”

Video shot by WTHR shows Lee coming back from the hospital, with neighbors clapping and cheering as he goes by. It was an emotional and happy moment for the family who had been through so much over the last year.

“I almost wanted to go back and take another loop through because there were people there I had no idea were going to be there, and it was amazing,” Julie told the news station.

According to a New York Times database, Indiana has seen 11,686 cases and 569 deaths attributed to coronavirus as of Monday afternoon.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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