Ohio couple celebrates their anniversary from a distance

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Akron, Ohio (CNN) — A brush with the coronavirus did not prevent an Ohio couple from celebrating their 17th wedding anniversary.

John and Angel Wharton couldn’t be together because Mr. Wharton is still hospitalized after his month-long battle with COVID-19. But since “together” was not an option his wife still found a way for them to be close.

Mrs. Wharton Whorton never imagined she would celebrate her 17th wedding anniversary by dancing and singing with her children on a hospital lawn with a one-way video chat with her husband.

For a month, Mr. Wharton has been battled the coronavirus on the third floor of Summa Akron City, in an ICU room with a cross in the window.

“I say that this is our best anniversary yet. From where he started, it didn’t look like we’d be celebrating like this at all,” said Mrs. Wharton.

And every day, Mr. Wharton’s family and friends gather outside his window to pray for and talk to him.

“Every message that I give to him is one more step for him to come home,” added the couple’s son, John Warton.

Mr. Wharton, 42, learned he had COVID-19 in early July.

“We don’t really know where he got it from, how he got it,” explained Mrs. Wharton.

The diagnosis came just a few days after Mrs. Wharton, a breast cancer survivor, got out for a double mastectomy.

2020 has been an incredibly hard year for the couple. But in 2016, they got national attention as the first contestants on the LeBron James’s show “The Wall”, winning over one-million dollars.

“It was absolutely the most amazing experience,” said Mrs. Wharton.

But as Mrs. Wharton stressed money can’t buy health and she’s focused on her husband’s health.

“I choose to look at God and I choose to look at the progression that he’s making every single day,” stated Mrs. Wharton.

Mrs. Wharton is hopeful Mr. Wharton will be moved to a rehab facility this week and possibly come home a few weeks after that. He still has a long road ahead of him but continues to make progress. Mr. Wharton is mostly breathing on his own now and moving more.

Mrs. Wharton looks forward to celebrating their next anniversary, next to each other. She is hoping they will celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary on “some island.”

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