'We thought we were going to die': Winnipeg woman shares her story of battling COVID-19

A Winnipeg woman is sharing the story of her battle with COVID-19 in hopes of encouraging others to get vaccinated.

In May, Von Kloppel’s entire household contracted COVID-19, including her husband who spent time in the ICU.

She describes the experience as gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, saying she doesn’t think people have a full understanding of how bad COVID-19 really is.

“We thought we were going to die. We thought our children were going to be orphaned,” she said in an interview on Wednesday morning.

“We had no idea what was going to happen. You really don’t know whether your time is up or not.”

She said during this time her community banded together to help care for her family.

“We were completely taken care of and loved by our family and friends and we couldn’t have done it without them,” Kloppel said.

“They brought me out of my looming thoughts, and it was heartbreaking.”


Kloppel has now written a five-page essay detailing what she has been through.

She said the idea to share her experience came from a conversation with a nurse who asked why she hadn’t been vaccinated.

“I said that I was vaccine-hesitant. I was extremely hesitant,” Kloppel said.

“I had so many questions, but I put my opinions aside because friends said, ‘Listen, do this for the greater good.’ And I did. I put my hesitations to the side and I went and got my appointment for vaccination, unfortunately, it was a week or two too late. We are booked again in July.”

In her essay, Kloppel details the experience of having COVID-19, including gasping for air, feeling a “gut-wrenching” pain in her lung, and having hopeless thoughts.

She said she hopes people who read this essay remember to be kind and “persuade people with love” to get their vaccines. She said if she even helps one person, then she knows this is what she was meant to do.

“Get vaccinated. I can’t stress it enough, how horrible it really is and you don’t know when it’s coming for you next,” Kloppel said.

- With files from CTV’s Nicole Dube.