MEQUON, Wis. — Family and friends celebrated outside of Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital just north of Milwaukee after Tom Sheffield left the hospital for the first time in a month after a battle with COVID-19.
"I just want to thank everybody again for all their support and making this day happen," Sheffield said.
Sheffield was one of the hospital's original COVID-19 patients. At times, the staff didn't think he was going to pull through.
"Tom was incredibly ill from the time he came in. He had multiple different treatments and was so incredibly critically ill at times that we didn't think he was going to make it," St. Mary's ICU Nurse Manager Molly Kast said.
But Sheffield continued to fight in the hopes he would be reunited with his wife and family. That day came Tuesday — he and his wife's 30th wedding anniversary.
"Overwhelmed is what I would say," Sheffield said.
Before leaving the hospital, the couple celebrated their love and renewed their wedding vows in a small private ceremony, held inside the hospital.
Afterward, hospital staff and the Mequon Fire Department surprised the couple with balloons, cheers, and signs.
"We will never forget any of them. We will never forget this day our anniversary. It's the best anniversary ever," Mary Sheffield said.
Tom Sheffield said his wife is his rock, but it was the compassion and love from the hospital staff that saved his life.
"I don't know what to say, when they talk about healthcare workers' compassion all of that, they exemplify all of that every day. I wish you could see that," Tom Sheffield said.
He plans to write thank you notes to the staff members who took care of him during his road to recovery.
This story was originally published by Adriana Mendez on WTMJ in Milwaukee.