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18th Jan, 2022

She's a fighter: Emma hails mum's triumph over deadly coronavirus

Ross Crawford 23rd Apr, 2020 Updated: 23rd Apr, 2020

“I DON’T know how she did it – I thought we’d lost her, but she kept fighting and fighting”.

That was the verdict of Emma Kirby, daughter of Annette Gardner, the 58-year-old who defied coronavirus to emerge from intensive care at the Alex after 17 days fighting the killer disease.

“We thought we’d lost her. Some days they’d just put the telephone by her head, she was so weak,” said Emma.

“She can’t remember any of it. I’d said goodbye to her, but she’s a fighter and she pulled through.”

Emma is so grateful for all the work staff at the Alex have done for her mum, she has launched her own Facebook appeal to raise funds for the NHS at Emma’s fund-raiser for NHS Charities Together.

“There is so much bad news out there at the moment and this is good news, it’s positive and we want to share it so that something good come out of it,” said Emma.

Not that mum Annette, who has helped countless students as special educational needs co-ordinator at Heart of Worcestershire College’s Redditch campus, is in the clear yet.

“They’ve told her it’s going to take months to recover,” said Emma.

“This is such a terrible virus – it attacked all her body so much – she was on a ventilator fighting for her breath.

“It’s going to be a long haul.”

Emma, herself a mum, admits the past few weeks have been a blur.

The family’s nightmare unfolded when they couldn’t get hold of Annette’s mum and dad Vic and Margaret Gardner.

Worried, Annette and her sister Sue went to see them and found them both ill.

Both had contracted coronavirus, Emma’s Grandad subsequently dying in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, while Margaret managed to survive and is currently being cared for at the Primrose Hospice in Bromsgrove.

Then as Sue fell ill Annette called an ambulance, but the paramedics took one look at them and took both into hospital.

Sue recovered fairly quickly, but Annette deteriorated rapidly leading her to death’s door where, with the help of the team at the Alex, she managed to pull back from the brink.

“We’re just so grateful she’s still here with us,” said Emma.

To support Emma’s appeal, visit

To see a video from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust of Annette’s discharge from ICU at the Alex, click here.


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