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Akron woman and family celebrate 'best anniversary yet' via video chat with husband, recovering from COVID-19 in ICU

Posted at 6:35 PM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 15:30:11-04

AKRON, Ohio — Singing and dancing with her kids on a hospital lawn while video chatting with her husband in the intensive care unit isn't how Angel Whorton imagined celebrating her 17th wedding anniversary.

But you won't hear Angel complain, because nearly a month ago her husband, John Whorton, nearly died from the coronavirus. He has been hospitalized for almost a month at Summa Akron City Hospital, but he continues to make steady progress.

"I say this is our best anniversary yet. From where he started, it didn't look like we'd be celebrating like this at all," she said. "I choose to look at God and I choose to look at the progression he's making every single day."

On Monday morning, Angel, and the couple's children joined other family members and friends to celebrate the Whorton's anniversary outside of the of Ann and David Brennan Pavilion where John is staying.

There's a white cross on the window of his third-floor room. Inside, several balloons were visible along with a nurse in protective gear who waved to the crowd.

Through a hospital video system called Cisco Webex, Angel and the kids sang a special anniversary song to John, who is now breathing mostly on his own, but isn't able to speak yet.

"Baby, we're celebrating, you're here with us," Angel told her husband.

The 42-year-old-year father started feeling ill in early July just a few days after Angel, a breast cancer survivor, had a double mastectomy at the same hospital.

John developed pneumonia and a bad cough. He tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted into the ICU.

A few days later, his condition worsened and he had to be resuscitated.

Angel said a doctor invited her to the floor where a friend handed her a prayer book. Angel recalls saying prayers as she walked up and down the hallway.

"It was almost like my world crashed," she said.

Nearly a month later, John continues to make steady progress and could be released to a rehab facility this week. Angel hopes he can come home a few weeks after that.

The Whorton's gained national attention in 2016 when they became the first contestants on the LeBron James game called The Wall. The couple won more than $1 million, which was delivered by James. Angel is also a teacher at LeBron's I PROMISE School in Akron.

Angel was quick to point out that money can't buy your health and it's John's health that she continues to focus on.

"When I say he's the strongest man I know, he's the strongest and smartest man I know."

She's hopeful that their 18th wedding anniversary will be celebrated together on "some island."

Before finishing an interview with a News 5 crew, she looked into a camera and left John with another message.

"John, I love you so much," Angel said. "I am proud of you and you are literally my hero."