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Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton broke her silence amid her ongoing health battle after she was recently able to return home following weeks in the intensive care unit where she was battling a rare form of pneumonia.
In a statement posted on Instagram, the 55-year-old wrote about the support people had shown to her and her family. Retton’s daughter, McKenna Kelley, first told the public that her mom was “fighting for her life,” asking for help to cover hospital bills because Retton doesn’t have health insurance. A fundraiser on SpotFund collected more than $455,000 in donations, surpassing its $50,000 goal.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 31, 2023
“I’m beyond blessed to have the opportunity to make this statement,” Retton said. “I am overwhelmed with all the love and support from the world as I fight. I am forever grateful to you all! I’m with family continuing to slowly recover and staying very positive as I know this recovery is a long and slow process.”
“I appreciate everyone’s respect of my privacy at this time,” the post added. “When the time is right, I will be sharing more information about my health issues and hope I can help others who may face the same battle as me. I love you all.”
The statement was the first since Kelley shared a major update with fans on October 23.
“Mom is HOME and in recovery mode. We still have a long road of recovery ahead of us, but baby steps,” Kelly wrote at the time. “We are overwhelmed with the love and support from everyone. Grateful doesn’t scrape the surface of the posture of our hearts. Thank you Jesus, thank you doctors and nurses, thank you to this loving community of support.”
In a post earlier this month, Kelley’s sister, Shayla Kelley Schrepfer, shared that the former gymnast had a “scary setback” and was still in the ICU dealing with pneumonia. It came days after she shared that Retton was “getting stronger.”
“Mom’s progress is truly remarkable,” the message on social media read. “Prayers have been felt and have been answered. Although she remains in the ICU, her path to recovery is steadily unfolding. Her fighting spirit is truly shining. Her breathing is becoming stronger and her reliance on machines is diminishing.”
In 1984, Retton made history at the Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles when she became the first American woman to win an individual all-around gold medal, People magazine noted. Her victory led to her being named “Sportswoman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated magazine, and she also famously appeared on the Wheaties box.