'It's a miracle': Windsor man celebrates one year anniversary of COVID recovery

A Windsor family is celebrating a special milestone.

It’s been one year since Giuseppe Talerico, also known as Peppino, was released from hospital after nearly a four-month battle against COVID-19.

Friends and family celebrated Talerico on Saturday with a surprise parade for the grandfather of five, after what many are calling a miracle recovery.

“You have to believe and now I believe more than I believe before because everyone told me it’s a miracle, miracle, miracle didn’t come in my head. I said miracle for what? But now I understand, it’s a miracle otherwise I die,” says Talerico.

Talerico, 68, was released from the hospital one year ago after a 113-day battle of COVID-19.

“Compared from last year to this year, I feel lots better. Much better. I have to say thanks God,” says Talerico.

In the ICU, intubated and put on life support for over 40 days, Talerico credits his family for getting him through some of the hardest times.

“I got a lot of support as you can see. If it wasn’t for my wife. I was messed up because of the medication,” says Talerico.

“It’s pretty emotional but we are happy,” says Talerico’s daughter, Eleonara Vitella.

“We are happy he survived. Happy for all the support he received and he’s here with us today,” says Talerico’s daughter, Maria Teresa Calvaruso.

“There’s been a lot of ups and down. A lot of encouragement you can do this. Telling him he’s got this. There were a lot of times he said I can’t do this and we were always behind him and said we are here for you no matter what, we will support you,” says Calvaruso.

Even Talerico’s physio therapists came to celebrate.

“It’s heartwarming to see how much love and support he has and how’s recovered,” says physio therapist Nicole MacKinnon. “Oh my gosh it’s so wonderful to see him like this.”

His other physio therapist Tracey Pardalis adds he “looks amazing.”

“He looks so much healthier than when we had him,” says MacKinnon.

This is the first time his physio therapists have seen him since he left the hospital.

“It’s vastly different. He couldn’t even hardly walk with us. He took first steps with us but now he’s walking without anything, no oxygen,” says MacKinnon.

Talerico says it was very hard to walk.

“The first time I did steps was with five nurses because I can’t stand up. Even now I’m tired, but still I’m ok now.”

Talerico is now walking and now driving again, admitting he still has a long road to recovery.

“Coming home his expectations were a little different. He thought he was going to come home, go in the garden, do his regular stuff then realized I can’t, but we taught him he can and we are here for him,” says Calvaruso.

“His fine motor skills are not the same. Watching him just get up the stairs or walk. I think that was hard,” says Vitella.

The family’s message to others who might be in a similar situation as Talerico is one of hope.

“Hug your family everyday because there were lots of days we couldn’t, but now we can. So we are grateful,” says Calvaruso.