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Colorado father of 8 survives COVID-19, family struggles to pay bills

Father of 8 survives COVID, struggles to recover financially
Posted at 6:36 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 20:38:12-04

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MORRISON, Colo. — Every day, we report the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Colorado and remember that every one of those numbers is a real person fighting for their life.

The battle to survive often continues long after those people get out of the hospital.

"I was scared for my life," said Richard Haviland, a father of 8 who was rushed by ambulance to Swedish Hospital two months ago. "I started having trouble breathing, and I told my wife, 'enough! We were going to walk to the truck and go to the hospital.' I couldn't even make it down the stairs."

He was put on a ventilator and spent two and a half weeks in the hospital.

"They asked me if I wanted to be revived or not revived. I told them, 'I want to be revived' — I have a family!" he said.

"We have eight kids," said Ellen Haviland, Richard's wife, who is now his full-time caregiver. "The oldest one is 26, and then it goes all the way down to 11. The Coronavirus doesn't pick and choose. When you get it, you get it."

Their entire family quarantined for two weeks, and no one else came down with the virus.

"You think it's a God thing?" she asked her husband. "He thinks it's a God thing, possibly."

Their faith has held strong, but the bills started piling up, even as neighbors pitched in to help with meals and their teenage children with jobs.

"Whatever I make, I put half and half — half for my family and half for myself," said 19-year-old Logan Haviland. "I buy groceries pay bills, whatever I can help them out. I worry about him every single day because I don't want to lose him."

A GoFundMe account has raised almost $5,000.

"Out there in the world, people do care about people," said Richard Haviland. "We feel loved."

He said their battle still isn't over, but their life is forever changed.

"I look at things a lot more differently now. I tell my wife and kids I love them more than I usually used to," he said, adding a warning about the virus. "I hear a lot of people saying it's not for real, well, you go through it. Trust me, it's real."