18 years old - Fairmont, West Virginia
Though she was careful to take proper precautions during the pandemic, college freshman Kayla Willis contracted COVID-19 at the end of her first semester. The time she spent in quarantine was marked by lethargy, dizziness, fevers, and bedrest.
When her isolation period was over, Kayla's symptoms persisted, and she decided to move back home for the sake of her health. She was struggling with maintaining her mental health at the time, and figured that the reason for her physical and cognitive decline was due to this hardship. It wasn't until recently that Kayla began to realize that her symptoms were due to the effects of Long Covid.
During the summer of 2020, Kayla kept her body in shape, participating in CrossFit and other athletic activities that allowed her to stay healthy. Her physical activity stopped during her COVID infection in October, and in the weeks following her isolation and partial recovery, she slowly began to resume her workouts. Kayla hardly reached a mile before she had to call a friend to pick her up from her run, as she felt like she was ready to pass out in the gas station parking lot she'd stopped to rest at.
Once picked up, she fell in and out of consciousness, experienced a pounding heartbeat, and had an incredibly difficult time breathing. One hospital visit later, Kayla
She's thankful for the support of her family and friends, and continues to look ahead to days of improved health, as she feels she is not completely back to normal, regardless of the 7 months that elapsed from the time of her initial infection to now.