SEBRING, Fla. (WFLA) – For Pastor Jesus Perez and his wife, Ivette, this moment is all about gratitude and faith. They have plenty of both.
This longtime Sebring couple has seen many dark days recently during their journey, one that has included life and death.
Through it all, their message has remains the same.
“Don’t lose hope. Keep your faith. Pray, stay strong, and stay positive because there is hope,” said Pastor Perez. “There is hope.”
Jesus and Ivette Perez met as children and have been together every since. They are middle school sweethearts, together for more than 34 years – a relationship based on remarkable strength and faith.
A faith, they admit, that was recently tested.
This longtime couple tells 8 On Your Side they’ve gone through unimaginable pain and grief since late March when Ivette was hospitalized and diagnosed with coronavirus.
Spending nearly two months at AdventHealth Sebring where Ivette flat-lined three times.
Her husband says the dedicated heroes at the hospital never gave up. They knew this woman is a fighter.
“Even though it looked like she probably wasn’t going to make it, they continued doing the treatments. They continued doing what needed to be done. And, look at us today,” Pastor Perez told us with tears in his eyes. “This is the love of my life.”
From her hospital bed, Ivette was beaming, smiling from ear to ear. She explained to 8 On Your Side how happy she is to be going home soon.
“I’m feeling good, happy. I’m grateful and very excited,” she said Monday.
Happy, healthy and most of all, hopeful.
This couple knows how important it is for people to stay positive and have faith. They’re hoping their story will inspire others during this difficult time.
Pastor Perez explained, “If we stay positive and we allow the doctors and nurses to do their work and continue our faith, there is hope at the end. There really is hope.”
The couple says they’ve received prayers from as far away as South Africa, Central America and all across Florida and the United States. Those prayers, they tell us, have been answered. Doctors are set to release Ivette sometime this week.
This mother and father-of-three know firsthand just how hard this pandemic has been, and that it’s far from over.
Amid the grief, they say they want people to know, there are good things happening, and there is so much to be grateful for right now.
“This is a victory. Honestly, this is a miracle in the making. I can tell everyone, don’t lose hope,” said the pastor. “Keep believing, and don’t lose hope.”
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