Akron man who died twice during battle with COVID-19 finally home with his wife and kids

John Whorton, 42, returned home to his family in Akron after months on a ventilator battling...
John Whorton, 42, returned home to his family in Akron after months on a ventilator battling the deadly virus.(Angel Whorton)
Updated: Oct. 27, 2020 at 10:26 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - 2020 has been a rough year for all of us, but for one Akron family, their nightmare started back in 2019 when Angel Whorton was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. By July 2020, she was done with chemo and had her final surgery, but a week later, her husband, John, ended up in the same hospital fighting for his life after catching COVID-19.

It was the day Angel and John had been waiting for and, more importantly, praying for the day John could finally come home.

“When the chips was down she fought me when I couldn’t fight,” John said of his wife as his eyes filled with tears. “She prayed for me when I couldn’t pray. She was there for me.”

“It feels magical, you know, it was such a rocky road through it all, and you were there with us,” Angel said. “I don’t have the words yet; it’s just amazing.”

When Angel Whorton’s husband, John, was diagnosed with COVID-19 and put on a ventilator, she was still recovering from reconstructive surgery following her double mastectomy, but that didn’t stop her from praying outside her husband’s hospital room window every day.

“They’re praying for me? Like every day? Had them put a cross in the window so that if people wanted to come pray they would know where to come pray to,” John said.

When John woke up after being in a coma, the first thing he saw was his wife on FaceTime.

“That’s when I realized she had been looking at me the whole time, like seeing me, watching me and then she told me she was reading to me and different things like that it’s like I don’t man I knew, but I didn’t know how like she’s amazing,” he said of his wife.

It’s been a rough road for the 42-year-old who was in great health before coming down with COVID. John went on a ventilator almost immediately after arriving at Summa Health in Akron, and he stayed on it for more than two months. While in the hospital, John coded twice.

“Angel came in put on all of this protective gear, the PPE gear and prayed at my door like inside, and mind you; she’s got these tubes hanging out of her because she’s just had surgery and she’s in there praying for me inside the COVID wing,” John said.

Now he’s finally home with his family, but his recovery has not been in a walk in the park. After finally leaving the hospital, he spent close to two months in rehab, learning how to walk and talk again. He had this message for anyone not taking the coronavirus seriously.

“They need to wake up,” said John. “I’m afraid to go places because I’m afraid I’m gonna say, ‘Why in the world don’t you have a mask on? You see me walking with this walker?’ I have a walker that I use until my legs get stronger. COVID did this.”

After beating both cancer and COVID-19, what will the couple do next? They say they wouldn’t mind spending a good part of 2021 on a beach with their two kids while practicing social distancing, of course. Most of all, they hope to keep sharing their story to inspire other families to keep fighting.

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