Standing outside in the fresh air, a crisp winter morning, looking at a clear blue sky and taking a long deep breath, feeling the cold air fill your lungs. It sounds simple, easy. However, for Ronald Campbell, there was a time when taking a breath, any breath was a struggle. This was the stark reality for Ronald Campbell, a 45-year-old father of two living in Raleigh, North Carolina when his condition was at its worst.
At ten years old, Jahliah Parker likes to have fun with her siblings, play on her Nintendo Switch, and, along with thousands of other children across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, is ready to go back to in-person school. She is the youngest girl of six children; her brother, whom she is close to, is the youngest in the family, and none of them do anything without the others. Much like her siblings, she is an ordinary kid except for one little thing, her congenital heart condition. Throughout her entire life, Jahliah has had to deal with erratic heart rhythms, skipping of her heart, heart beating too fast, sometimes to the point of pain, and asthma. At the age of nine, she started to have fainting spells.
Lee was diagnosed with influenza A, a severe strain of the flu, coupled with Strep pyogenes pneumonia. This combination left Lee unconscious, forcing his family to make the decision to put him on ECMO. His pregnant wife and family stayed by his side as he fought to heal.