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Former firefighter shares long-haul COVID-19 survival story

Defiance resident Jarod Kammeyer spent 288 days going to 4 different hospitals as he fought for his life.

DEFIANCE, Ohio — After spending almost an entire year in the hospital because of COVID-19, a former Noble Township firefighter is finally home recovering.

But now he wants to share his journey, in an effort to show you just how serious the pandemic is, and that includes some pictures from his time in the hospital some viewers might find graphic.

"My wife took me to the ER at Defiance Regional. Once they got me inside, they determined I was only on 30% room air," said Jarod Kammeyer, who lives in Defiance with his wife. 

COVID-19 first sent Jarod Kammeyer to the ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital back in November. 

Little did the former Noble Township Fire Department volunteer and his wife Cristina know it would be months before he would see his home again. 

"The whole journey is just ... I can't even describe it. It's just been unreal. It's all I'm living, is COVID. That's all I'm thinking about all day long," Cristina Kammeyer said.

Credit: Cristina Kammeyer
Jacob Kammeyer of Defiance was hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 and experiencing other health complications for 288 days.

First, it was COVID-19. 

Then shortly after Jarod would end up on a ventilator. 

Add that to an allergic reaction and a first-degree burn, and he'd lose his skin. 

An array of medical problems would soon follow. 

"Actually spent time in four different hospital facilities over the course of 288 days along with a local skilled nursing facility. And that's the big thing. After 288 days, according to the Defiance County Health Department, that's the most for anybody that's hospitalized for COVID," he said.

After many days, Jarod Kammeyer is finally back home, trying to fully recover. 

He and his wife are still physically and emotionally scarred. 

"When I look at what Jarod's gone through, it's real. ...  And some people had it and just simply a few symptoms and they bounce back. But no, I mean Jarod was healthy, and look at what happened to him," Cristina Kammeyer said. 

Jarod considers himself lucky but says others should take his battle as an example.

"My message that both me and my wife both stand behind is do the right thing. If you're not wearing one of these (holds up a mask), get one. Wear it, whether you feel the need or not. Protect yourself, protect others. Be honest upfront if you do have COVID," he said. 

And stay home if you do feel sick. 

Jarod and Cristina Kammeyer want you to know that they are grateful for all the prayers and encouragement their community has given them. 

A GoFundMe has been started for the family and that can be accessed at the link here.

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