This Thanksgiving, COVID-19 survivors in the Central Valley share their stories


CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KSEE) – Because of the pandemic, more than a quarter of a million loved ones are not with their families this Thanksgiving in the United States. Some families directly affected by COVID-19 in the Central Valley are counting their blessings this year.

Pastor Mark Wallace and Karen Parker-Bryant were both hospitalized toward the beginning of the pandemic and both say their doctors call them miracles.

“The doctor actually came into my room my last day and said ‘you’re an absolute miracle. We have no explanation for how this turned around,'” Wallace said.

He said he was at Kaiser Permanente in Fresno for 28 days because of COVID-19 complications — he was on a ventilator for half of that time.

He said his recovery was slow, but he surpassed the doctors’ expectations and added that he still feels some of the effects of COVID-19 today.

“I don’t have the work stamina that I used to.  I wear down a little quicker, but by in large, I’m totally healthy, I’d say I’m 95%,” he said.

“This is no joke, it’s nothing to play around with,” he added “I’m only in my mid-50’s. I’m in good health, and it nearly took my life…I wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for the prayers of people all over the world.”

Karen Parker-Bryant said she was admitted into Clovis Community Medical Center in April and was on a ventilator for 35 days.

“My primary care physician, his partner, my cardiologist, all of them call me a walking miracle,” she said.

Parker-Bryant said she’s thankful to be able to see her loved ones or pick up the phone and talk to them, something she said she wasn’t able to do when she was in the hospital.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I would have made it. Matter of fact, if it wasn’t for him, I would not have made it because they said my case was one of the worst, if not worst, in the San Joaquin Valley,” Parker-Bryant said.

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 260,000 people in the U.S as of Nov. 26.

“My mother could have easily been in that number,” Christian David, Parker-Bryant’s son, said. “Thankful is an understatement.”

Wallace said he’s thankful to be alive.

“I was out at 5:30 this morning getting the turkey ready and putting it together and thinking to myself, ‘I almost didn’t make it,'” Wallace said.

For local, national, and breaking news, and to get weather alerts, download our FREE mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383