MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities man is being considered a COVID-19 miracle. He survived after being on life support for months.

WCCO found out how his unexpected road to recovery helped his former nurse survive, too.

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Dawn Lenn is an ICU Nurse at M Health Fairview.

“I speak for all of my staff, all of my co-workers and all of the nurses, everyone in the medical profession when I say it’s been nothing short of disaster zone for now two years,” Lenn said. “And it just keeps going.”

She even got a tattoo to remind herself that one day it will get better.

“It says, “Here Comes The Sun.” Every time somebody was discharged from the COVID hospital at Bethesda in St. Paul, they played this song over the intercom and it just brought tears to our eyes every single time.”

And one of the patients who brought tears to her eyes was Walter Byrd.

“It was just so uplifting for the entire staff just to see that ‘Oh my goodness, somebody is gonna get out of here and make it, and he did!'” she said.

Dawn Lenn and Walter Byrd (credit: CBS)

But it didn’t come easy. Byrd got COVID-19 in the fall of 2020. He spent two months on life support. His homecoming has kept her going — so WCCO planned a Zoom reunion. Lenn smiled as she saw Byrd’s face pop up on the screen.

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“It’s so good to see him, it’s so good to see him doing well,” Lenn said.

She says Byrd has propelled her through the past year.

“It just seems to be this cycle that never ends, and then I see his face and I do just, maybe I light up because it is so, him and his story are just so uplifting,” she said

Byrd, after a year of healing, says he’s almost back to feeling fully like himself.

“‘I’m gonna be an advocate for you.’ That’s the first thing she told me, and I was like ‘Wow, this is bigger than just providing medical care.’ It was just touching that she would go out of her way to do that,” he said. “It’s just a testament to her character.”

Two friends who, in two different ways, saved each other.

“I look forward to seeing him in person, giving him a big hug,” Lenn said.

“Likewise,” Byrd said. “Likewise.”

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And those two will get to hug soon. Byrd was so moved by his experience, he’s going to start volunteering at M Health Fairview next month.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield