MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Walter Byrd, a Minnesota filmmaker, just about died of COVID-19.

He was on life support for 59 days at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. The 44-year-old somehow beat every odd and rebounded, as WCCO showed you in January.

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Byrd returned to that very hospital, and what he did is pretty special.

Byrd was comatose, on life support and on the brink of death. He has every reason to try and forget about that time and the place where it happened. But he’s back.

“I am just grateful that I came here at the right time and that everything worked out and that I am here today and I’m able to speak and share my story,” he said.

He’s grateful that he’s back doing what he loves — making films and writing novels.

And he has quite the story to tell. He spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at the U of M Medical Center, away from family. He says his nurses were beside him.

“It’s very meaningful that they would take the time out to do that, to help nurse me back to health,” he said.

And now he’s walking back into the hospital that he barely got out of — by choice. Byrd is a new volunteer.

Walter Byrd (credit: CBS)

“I could’ve went to other hospitals but I was like, no, it has to be at M Health Fairview,” he said. “I wanted to help where I got care at.”

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So he quickly went to work. And it’s not just the physical tasks that Byrd is doing. He’s also here for emotional support.

“I understand from a patient standpoint how it feels to be lonely,” he said.

Gretchen Kingsley is healing from lung cancer surgery.

“I’ve only had to be here four days, I can’t imagine how long you’ve been here,” she told Byrd. “So congratulations on being well and up and about and volunteering.”

“At times it may seem bleak, but just hang in there, things will turn around,” Byrd said to Kingsley.

At 80, Kingsley is also beating the odds, just like her newest friend.

“Just take one step at a time and things will get better,” Byrd said.

“That’s hard for me, but I will do that,” Kingsley said.

“Yep, it was hard for me,” Byrd said.

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Byrd is proof people can do hard things — and really kind things, too.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield