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Emporia woman urges community to get the vaccine after COVID-19 battle

Coronavirus in Kansas

EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) — A Kansas woman is finally home after a weeks-long battle with coronavirus that nearly killed her. Now she says getting the vaccine could be the difference between missing out on the big milestones in her family’s lives and being there to see them grow up.

“I shouldn’t be here,” Kelly Noller said.

Noller said she’s always been one of those outrageous loud singers whether it’s in the car or the shower. After being released from the hospital following her journey with COVID-19, she tried to belt out a tune. What happened next brought her to tears.

“I cried but nothing came out,” Noller said. “I’m the loud mom at the football games. I can’t yell anymore.”

While each of her kids was hitting a milestone in their life she was shuffled from hospital to hospital.

“My daughter started college without me. My oldest son started high school,” she said.

Her youngest son started football, and she wasn’t sure if she’d be there to see him play.

Noller went to Newman Regional Health, the hospital in Emporia, reporting trouble breathing on July 14. That first stay didn’t last long. Sometime later her oxygen levels dropped rapidly prompting another trip. After two weeks of antibody treatment, she was intubated.

Noller wasn’t vaccinated. She hopes her story compels others enough to do it. 

“It’s not political. It just needs to be done,” she said.

Without protection from the vaccine, Noller was too sick to ride in a typical helicopter that transports patients. Her family was told she was taken to a local airport where a specially equipped plane took her to Lincoln, Nebraska to be stabilized there.

 She doesn’t remember most of this. She’s still piecing it together slowly. 

“It may come back,” Noller said. “I hope it doesn’t. I don’t want to remember a lot of that stuff, the pain I put my family in is something I don’t want to recall.”

To help her family with their medical bills, you can click here to donate to their fundraiser.

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