Mary Lou Retton, a gymnast who won an Olympic gold medal, was diagnosed with a rare type of pneumonia in October of last year, and her daughter begged for prayers for her mother’s recovery.
Gymnast and Retton’s second child, McKenna Kelley, took to Instagram stories to report that her critically ill mother was battling for her life in the intensive care unit and was gasping for air.
Kelley began a fundraising effort to cover Retton’s medical bills. She wrote on Spotfund that her mom lacked health insurance.
She asked people to please keep Mary Lou in their prayers and consider donating to assist in covering the cost of her medical care. With almost $192,000 collected, the charity had blown past its $50,000 target. Kelley expressed her immense gratitude to those on the fundraising site.
According to an interview, Mary Lou Retton said she didn’t recall much, but her daughter said physicians checked her for COVID-19, the flu, and RSV and found nothing wrong.
But her lungs suggested she was having trouble retaining oxygen.
Doctors contemplated ventilating her.
As her children prayed, Retton’s oxygen levels climbed. They gave her high-flow nasal oxygen.
Retton was discharged from the hospital at the end of October.
The crowdfunding campaign had raised almost $459,000.
At the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles (1984), Retton made history at the age of sixteen when she became the first American female to win the individual all-around gold medal.
She helped bring gymnastics—a sport traditionally dominated by Eastern European countries like Romania and the USSR—into the mainstream in the United States, where she received a pair of silver and two bronze medals.
Though she officially retired in 1986, Retton kept herself in the public eye by appearing in daytime TV cameos.
In addition to having a park and street in Fairview, West Virginia, named for her, she was inducted into the Gymnastics Hall of Fame (1997).
She attributes her close connection with Jesus Christ and her confidence in Him to holding her grounded in her celebrity.