When Bradford mother Julie-Anne Lingan was admitted to Southlake hospital in mid-March due to severe symptoms after being diagnosed with COVID-19, she didn't know if she would ever see her children again.
After a month long battle in the ICU, where she was on a ventilator for two weeks in a coma, she was finally able to return home April 17 to her husband Mark and two twin children, Marcus and Marianne.
Next weekend is the twins' 5th birthday, and she wanted to mark the occasion with a special drive-by parade, as well as fundraiser for the Newmarket hospital who helped with her recovery.
"They (the twins) have tons of toys and clothes already, so I thought of doing the fundraising instead for Southlake," she explained, noting being back home was "the greatest gift of all" for her children.
Lingan credits the hospital staff for all their hard work in helping her recover from the virus. She is also thankful for all the community and their prayers and support during her time in the hospital.
"Above all, I thank God for giving me my good health back," she said.
The money she is raising will go toward personal protective equipment for Southlake hospital.
"I would like to give back to those people who looked after me at my most critical stage. So we decided to use this celebration as an opportunity to raise funds for them so they can continue to provide care to those people who need their help," she said.
"These people are risking their lives every minute they are at work, the least I can do is to ensure they do not run out of shield to ensure they are protected."
Now that Lingan is back home, she is feeling better and trying to get back to normal as much as possible, but she noted there are some days where she has her emotional moments, thinking about all she went through fighting the disease.
"My therapist said it’s close to PTSD," she explained.
There are times when she worries about catching the virus again.
"Just last weekend I did tons of errands, then a day after I had fever and chills, cough and sore throat," she explained. "I ended up going to Southlake again just to make sure it’s not a relapse."
It turns out, she had just been physically overworking herself and had not been re-infected.
"I just overdid what my body can do," she explained.
She is now taking things easy and trying her best to keep her mind focused on more positive things, like the twins' birthday.
"There’s more to be thankful for than thinking of it (the virus)," she explained. She is feeling blessed and happy to be back home with her family again.
"My goal is to be fit and healthy so I can be with them (the twins) until they celebrate their wedding and birthdays of my grandkids," she said.
The parade is taking place on Saturday, May 30. Anyone who would like to participate are asked to line up in their vehicles around 2:30 p.m. on Rutherford Road near Langford Boulevard, and drive along Heritage Street. People are encouraged to decorate their cars, make signs and honk their horns for the birthday twins.
And anyone who would like to donate to the PPE fundraiser can donate directly to Lingan's GoFundMe page here.
"I look forward to seeing all your beautiful faces and celebrate even just from a distance," said Lingan.