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  • Writer's pictureCory Kundert

Surviving COVID-19 - Ricky DeNure - Episode 6

Ricky DeNure's life changed on October 5th, 2020. That was the day that he found out he had COVID-19. What started as a headache, quickly turned into a medflight trip ten days later. Prior to being medflighted, Ricky was induced into a coma. He didn't wake up for six weeks. In total, Ricky spent 96 days in the hospital battling COVID-19.

Ricky grew up on a dairy farm near South Wayne, WI. South Wayne is a small village in Lafayette County. Ricky was just like every other farm kid. He grew up working on the farm and playing sports. It was on the farm where Ricky learned how to work hard. This hard work will come in handy later in life, where he had to battle back from COVID-19.

Throughout Ricky's life, he's given back to the communities he's lived in. In fact, Ricky was my very first baseball coach for the Browntown Bulldogs! He's spent 16 years as a line judge for both Black Hawk and Albany volleyball and has spent a number of years running the scoreboard for Albany basketball games. About seven years ago, Ricky moved to the Village of Albany, where he works. Albany has been a great fit for Ricky. He loves the small town community. Ricky is also a well-known DJ in the Green County and Lafayette County area.

October 5th started like any other day. Ricky worked all day for the Village of Albany, but had a really bad headache. It eventually went away and he went back to work the next few days. On that Friday, he was setting up his DJ equipment for a wedding and the headache came back. He also wasn't feeling well. On the way home, he got a call that he had tested positive for COVID-19. So, Ricky had to scramble to get someone to replace him for the wedding that weekend. From there, his symptoms got worse. He began to struggle breathing. At one point, he had to call his daughter to take him to the hospital. He didn't know it at the time, but that phone call led him to 96 days in the hospital.

Ricky arrived at the hospital on October 10th. Just a few days later, Ricky could barely breathe. He struggled so much, that he thought it was going to be his last day on earth. With that in mind, he posted a video on Facebook. He thought he was saying goodbye to his friends and family through that video. Ricky talks about that experience on episode six of Wisco Legacy. Within the next few days, Ricky was induced into a coma and was taken by medflight to UnityPoint Health Meriter in Madison. Luckily, Ricky got the last bed in Madison. Six weeks later, Ricky woke up from his coma.

Throughout the next few months, Ricky's health steadily improved. On December 29th, he finally moved out of the hospital and into a rehab facility. That's where the hard work that Ricky put into his family farm came in handy. Ricky was doing everything he could to rehab and earn the green wristband to take care of himself. On January 18th, he finally earned that wristband! Five days before he was released from the Rehab hospital, Ricky was honored at the Black Hawk and Albany basketball game. It was a full circle moment for Ricky, as these were two schools that he had supported over the years. When Ricky finally made it home, he had a line of cars drive by his house, honking their horns, and waving signs welcoming him home.

Throughout the 96 days that Ricky was in the hospital, he had tremendous community support. It seemed like every time that I went on Facebook, I saw a post about Ricky. He's beloved by everyone that knows him. He's a happy-go-lucky, funny guy who gets along with everyone. We are all glad you made it through this tough battle Ricky!

If you want to hear about Ricky's battle with COVID-19, check out episode 6 of Wisco Legacy, coming Tuesday, October 26 at 5:00 a.m. The video version can be found on YouTube and the audio version can be found on all of the podcast platforms.

The link to all is below:

Ricky - thanks for sharing your story!


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