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79-year-old Sacramento man shares journey after recovering from COVID-19

Jim Kassis was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April 2020 and is still feeling the effects of the virus nearly a year later.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A few months after Jim Kassis turned 78 years old, he collapsed at his home and was taken to the hospital. He had COVID-19.

“I didn’t really recover consciously just until they took me off the ventilator,” Kassis said. “I’d come in and out of it.”

At the hospital, due to COVID-19 restrictions, he couldn’t have his family by his side. During this time, ABC10 got in touch with his daughter Amber after she posted on Instagram about her dad.

Kassis watched ABC10’s story with her after he got out of the hospital.

“That was very touching and the response, I can hardly talk,” Kassis said. “The response from the public was outstanding.”

After 20 days, Kassis was released from the hospital. He believes the support and his active lifestyle helped him recover faster. He exercised nearly every day and now, nearly a year later, he’s enjoying all of his favorite sports and activities. This year he turns 80 years old.

“I’m back skiing this year and I started my taekwondo work in, I think, around June or July,” Kassis said. “I was back in the gym doing that and playing golf moderately. I started doing that as soon as I could walk. I walk 18 holes now. I ski a half-day and I’m pretty healthy.”

Kassis said he was unprepared for the pandemic and thought he was going to live forever. He said he wished he was able to say goodbye last year when he got COVID-19 in case he wasn’t going to make it.

“My message is don’t ever let a day go by without telling your friends and your loved ones you love them,” Kassis said. “Don’t let an argument last because you may not have a chance to make amends for it and treat every day like your last one because it might be and thank God it’s not."

Even though Kassis is doing a lot better he encourages people to continue wearing masks and social distance. He says his focus is now on his wife Debi who has brain cancer.

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