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Woman who lost limbs after COVID-19 battle overcomes the odds through faith, determination

By Janelle Burrell

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    PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (KYW) — Candice Davis had just turned 30 and was living her dream.

“I would work out six times a week, I really loved it. I was really fit then,” Davis said. “I loved being a flight attendant.”

She enjoyed traveling for work, was pursuing her goal of becoming a nurse, had a boyfriend she adored and was healthy.

“It was just a really nice, beautiful life,” Davis said.

Then COVID-19 happened. It was August 2021.

“I started noticing I was really exhausted,” Davis said. “I was so weak that I could barely shower.”

As the world was reeling from the pandemic and researchers were still racing to learn more about the disease, Davis tested positive for COVID-19.

“I felt like I was dying,” Davis said.

Davis was rushed to the hospital, where a doctor told her news that would change the course of her life. Her heart was failing, and they wanted her on a ventilator.

“I was like, ‘There has to be another way,'” Davis said, “and he was like, ‘No if we don’t put you on a ventilator, you’ll die.'”

Minutes later, Davis was put in a medically induced coma. She was kept unconscious for more than a month, with a machine keeping her alive.

She saw her mother, brother and doctors the moment she woke up. Then, her mother told her words she’ll never forget.

“My mom was like, ‘Hey, baby, the doctors, the medical team wants to cut off your arms,'” Davis said. “I remember looking down at my body, and as black as my shirt is, that’s how my limbs looked. She was basically saying, if they don’t amputate your arms, then you will die. And I said, ‘I want to live.'”

Losing her arms wouldn’t be Davis’s only hurdle. The COVID-19 complications meant not enough blood was getting to her extremities and gangrene set in. Two months later, both of her legs had to be amputated as well.

Davis spent nine months in the hospital before finally transitioning to outpatient care.

“Even though it’s been tragedy,” Davis said, “I’ve definitely been blessed along this journey.”

Jefferson Moss-Magee Rehabilitation Hospital is now where Davis spends multiple days a week. It has become her second home for the last year and a half.

“Having someone help feed you, having someone help change you, shower you, it’s a big adjustment,” Davis said.

Davis is not only a fighter, she’s an inspiration, leaning on her faith.

“My life has a purpose for more than just myself,” she said. “After seeing how hard it is, and the things that people who have disabilities go through, I know that part of my purpose here is to be an advocate for people with disabilities.”

“She has such an impression on everyone she touches,” Caili Loaec, one of Davis’s physical therapists, said. “In this facility, out in the community, she’s someone who you’re immediately drawn to her character.”

Each day, Davis is getting stronger through therapy helping her to stand, walk, dance, cook and even make art, surpassing expectations. Now, she’s determined to make her story a source of hope.

“She’s already overcome so much in the last year and a half that there’s really no limitations,” Loaec said.

“I really want to do something for this specific community, and I think I want to spend the rest of my life doing that,” Davis said. “I just want to use whatever time I have here on Earth for a positive impact, and to be happy.”

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