VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A traumatic experience has turned into a second chance for a Virginia Beach woman with Down syndrome.
13News Now brought you the story of Beki Powell in February. She celebrated beating COVID-19 after several weeks in hospital.
But after the story aired, Beki still had a long and uncertain path ahead. At the end of October, her family came together to celebrate her 35th birthday. The day she fought to see, just nine months prior.
“All of her organs were shutting down and they kept telling me, she’s not going to make it,” said Beki’s mom, Kathy Powell.
For 37 days, Kathy and Ken Powell watched their daughter battle COVID-19 in the Intensive Care Unit. The experience was made even more traumatic because Beki has down syndrome.
“When she’s sick, she’s like two,” said Ken Powell. “She didn’t understand any of that, what was going on.”
Seeing her on a ventilator through facetime is still a painful memory.
“She was so scared,” Kathy said. "She was petrified. You could see it in her face. And to think, that was going to be the last image that we ever had of her.”
The Powells almost lost Beki twice, but said they chose faith over fear.
“We had to learn to turn her over and let God do what he needed to do, and he did,” Ken said.
Finally, on Feb. 3, Beki beat the odds and got to come home.
We shared that joy on 13News Now, but when the cameras stopped rolling, Beki still had a long road of recovery ahead.
“She was on oxygen around the clock, she used a walker, she was very shaky as she ate,” Kathy said.
Day by day, Beki began exceeding the expectations of her doctors yet again.
“Everything they said she would not do, she kicked butt on,” Kathy said.
Before long, she started walking without support. By September, she didn’t need an oxygen tank.
“We walked the block every day, and now she walks a mile every day,” Ken said.
“Today she is 100 pounds lighter,” Kathy said.
Now Beki’s smiles are brighter, and her dance parties are louder.
“We have to thank God every day, that we have a second chance with her,” Ken said.
So many people have lost loved ones to the virus. The Powells said Beki is taking back her life in their honor.
“We have her home and she’s stronger than she ever was, and she does more than she’s ever done,” Ken said.
“No matter what those odds look like, there is always hope,” Kathy said. “I think that is what she still gives us, hope.”
They can’t wait to see what she does with her 35th year.
Beki's parents said they started to join in on her daily mile walks. In the spring, they’ll tackle a 3K together.