Twenty-year-old Talia Kalisiak is ready to return to her pre-COVID life. The North Tonawanda native finally made her way home on February 3, since being hospitalized due to COVID-19 in early November.

While the past year has paved way for awareness to how vulnerable the elderly can be to Coronavirus complications, cases like Talia’s remind us that younger adults are far from immune. She started showing symptoms on November 2, a few days after visiting with friends. It turned out that they, along with Talia’s family, ended up contracting the virus as well.

On November 11, Talia’s father drove her to the hospital. Shortly after, she was in a medically-induced coma as a complication of COVID-19, and ultimately placed on a ventilator for 27 days.

A Young Person’s Recovery from COVID-19

When we speak with Talia, she cries talking about how her family prayed for her recovery. And on January 6, her loved ones rejoiced to see her transferred to Kenmore Mercy Hospital.

It was thanks to the Medical Rehabilitation team at Kenmore Mercy that Talia was able to make a full recovery. The specialists helped Talia build her strength back up, which included learning how to walk independently again.

“When COVID patients come over to our unit, we provide them with three hours a day of intense rehab; which includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech language pathology,” Kevin Gibson, Catholic Health’s rehabilitation director.

Talia’s Message: “Take It Seriously”

In the aftermath of her battle with the virus, Talia urges other young people to take COVID seriously: “Wear your mask, wash your hands, social distance. Because COVID is very real.”

Upon her discharge, hospital nurses and staff gathered to celebrate Kalisiak’s remarkable recovery and to congratulate her on this next step in her journey. While Talia is heading home, she will continue rehabilitation via home care.

Her family plans to celebrate her return, along with all the holidays they missed together.


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