Mary Lou Retton Making 'Remarkable' Progress, Remains in ICU as Family Asks for Prayers
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The family members of Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Mary Lou Retton shared that she is making "remarkable" progress in her battle against a rare form of pneumonia.
Her daughters Shayla Schrepfer, 28, and McKenna Kelly, 26, shared on their Instagram page's Saturday their mom is "breathing stronger" and on the "path to recovery."
"Mom's progress is truly remarkable!" they wrote in an update. "Prayers have been felt and have been answered."
It continued, "Although she remains in ICU, her path to recovery is steadily progressing. Her fighting spirit is truly shining! Her breathing is becoming stronger, and her reliance on machines is diminishing. Though it's a lengthy journey, witnessing these improvements is incredibly heartening! She's beginning to respond to treatments."
The 55-year-old has been in the hospital for more than a week after contracting a rare form of pneumonia.
Kelley, gymnast and second child of Retton, shared on her Instagram stories last week that her mother was "fighting for her life" in the ICU and was not able to breathe on her own.
She started a fundraising campaign on Retton's behalf for medical expenses, sharing on a Spotfund page that her mother does not currently have medical insurance.
So far, the page has raised more than $400,000 of its $50,000 goal.
"We ask that if you could help in any way, that 1) you PRAY! and 2) if you could help us with finances for the hospital bill," Kelley wrote on the platform.
Last week, Retton's daughter, Shayla shared the family was taking the diagnosis day by day.
"She's still fighting," she said. "She is being treated by the best of the best professionals here. And it has been such a blessing to have their hands on her. So please continue the prayers. We cannot thank you enough for the love and support you guys have shown."
"My sisters and I are overwhelmed," Shayla added. "We didn't even realize that there's so many people out there that love her just as much as we do. And it's been a really hard time for our family, so just seeing that people love her like that, and are showing her that support, it's just meant the world to us and her."
As CBN News reported, Retton became a sports icon at the age of 16 after becoming the first American to win an individual all-around gold medal during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
She also won two silver and two bronze medals at those games and helped bring gymnastics – a sport long dominated by Eastern European powers like Romania and the Soviet Union – into the mainstream in the U.S.
She retired in 1986, but remained in the spotlight playing cameo roles in daytime television including performing on season 27 of Dancing with the Stars, PEOPLE reports.
In 1997, she was inducted into the Gymnastics Hall of Fame and also had a park and street named for her in her hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia.
Retton, a born-again Christian, once told CBN that her faith has kept her grounded through the highs and lows of fame.
"I wouldn't be where I am today without my relationship with God," she shared. "My relationship with Jesus Christ is so much stronger now, but then, I mean, I knew He gave me talent and I knew that He brought Bela Karolyi into my life to bring that talent out. I give Him all the glory. He gave me something, (and) I worked for it, but I just praise Him every day for what He has in store for me."
She added, "He has a purpose for all of us. And I think winning that gold medal and putting me in that public arena was just a small little step of what He has in store for me. I really believe that.
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