'End of recovery': Manalapan man conquers COVID-19, raises money for health care workers who saved him

Santos, a Manalapan resident, has come a long way from when he stopped breathing on his own on March 23, 2020.

News 12 Staff

Apr 10, 2021, 1:49 PM

Updated 1,142 days ago

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Last year, Paulo Santos spent weeks on a ventilator at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and double pneumonia. On Saturday, the 40-year-old ran 20 miles to raise money for the health care workers who saved his life.
News 12’s Keith Kocinski was at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold where Santos began his journey. He spoke to him when he completed the run in Neptune. 
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"It feels unbelievable," he said. "It symbolizes the end of recovery. 
Santos, a Manalapan resident, has come a long way from when he stopped breathing on his own on March 23, 2020. At that time Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center had recently been approved to begin testing Remdesivir on COVID-19 patients, and the decision was made to transfer him there.
He began showing signs of improvement, and on April 7, 2020, his vitals were good enough for the ventilator to be removed. He went home three days later.
Having lost 45 pounds and much of his strength, he decided to take up running as a way to build himself back up. Over the summer, he made the decision to make today’s run and to raise money for the two medical centers to express his gratitude for saving his life.
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He also suffered a heart attack from a COVID-19-related blood clot in September which set him back, but his passion for the run kept him going.
"I no longer want to be a survivor, I no longer want to be someone in recovery. I just want to be me and be better,” he told News 12. “I think this is going to close out the chapter of the COVID survivor guy and just move on.”


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