‘That’s the reality of COVID-19’: Families of two Emporia men fighting for their lives after contracting the coronavirus share their experiences

Local News

EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) — Two Emporia men are fighting for their lives after contracting the coronavirus.

The Olivas and the Peraltas, two different families in Emporia going through very similar experiences.

David Oliva and Gonzalo Peralta, both middle age healthy men recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Now, both are laid up in hospital beds at Stormont Vail Hospital after being transferred from Newman Regional Health in Emporia.

“It was a shock, especially to see my dad go through it,” said Gonzalo’s son Roberto. “Mostly because he’s never been sick. He’s never feeling any pain that he’ll complain about.”

For Gonzalo’s family, the vibrant and hard working man they were used to was deteriorating right before their eyes and is on a ventilator.

“That is the reality of COVID-19,” said Gonzalo’s wife Chrysanne. “It’s not that oh yeah, you’re just sick and you’re fine.”

Chrysanne also had her own bout with the virus, but managed to fully recover.

“I was more scared for myself because I do have health conditions that I thought would get it worse,” said Chrysanne.

Seeing both of his parents struggling has even made Roberto consider forgoing his sophomore year of college to help support his parents.

“It’s just how I was raised for my dad showing me like family’s first,” said Roberto.

“That’s the hardest part for us right now besides seeing Gonzalo is to know that he’s willing to give up everything to stay home and be with our family,” said Chrysanne.

Throughout Gonzalo’s battle, among some of the most difficult things was not being able to be there with him physically and only being able to see him through zoom calls.

The same is true for the family of David Oliva.

“It’s not easy by no means,” said David’s wife Kimberlie. “You want to be up there. You want to be with him. You want to touch him.”

Like Gonzalo, David’s family said he was also very healthy. Since contracting the virus, he’s endured blood clots, a heart attack and has been on a ventilator.

“At that point, they began to tell my sister-in-law that they gave him less than a 20 percent chance of survival,” said David’s sister Becky Cortes. “He has really not improved since that point.”

But, they’re not giving up hope and they’re leaning on each other for support.

“I got good family,” said Kimberlie. “I’m so thankful for his sisters, his family and April.”

If there’s one thing both the Oliva family and Peralta family want people to learn from their experiences, it’s that the virus should be taken seriously.

People in the community have shown both families a tremendous amount of support. So far, over $20,000 has been raised for both families combined. To find out how you can donate to David’s family, click HERE. To donate to Gonzalo’s family, click HERE.

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