SHARPSVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – There have been numerous stories lately on the homecomings of people recovering from COVID-19, many of whom spent 100-plus days in the hospital. But, another local homecoming held on Wednesday was 152 days after the 20-year-old was admitted — the most we’ve heard of so far.
The van carrying Autumn DelMonaco, who has Down syndrome, arrived on Main Street in Sharpsville shortly before the parade in her honor. She had just been released from the hospital. Autumn lives in nearby South Pymatuning Township but hadn’t been home yet.
“She was very sick, I mean, gravely ill. I would say life-threatening,” said Autumn’s mom, Lori DelMonaco.
Lori explained how, on March 21, they took Autumn to Sharon Regional Medical Center, where doctors immediately transferred her to UPMC Passavant near Pittsburgh, where she spent four months in intensive care and one month in rehabilitation.
“She lost everything. She couldn’t stand, she couldn’t do anything. We have her now where she’s walking again with the walker,” Lori said.
To welcome Autumn home, Sharpsville threw a parade of about 150 cars. It was organized by Peggy Cataldi.
“Autumn’s just a real sweetheart. She’s very, very special and loving, loves everybody all the time. She always smiles. Very sweet,” Cataldi said.
After the Sharpsville High School marching band passed by, the van carrying Autumn drove down the street. People held signs and waved, some saying they missed her.
Autumn sat in the front and took it all in. At one point, Janet Petricini, who was Autumn’s aid in school, walked up to the van and handed Autumn a welcome home card. When talking about it afterward, she started to get emotional.
“I’ve kept in contact with her dad through the months here and he let me know she was coming home. It’s so great to see her come back home. We just love her,” Petricini said.
Autumn went home after the parade, where she was welcomed with another homecoming.
Autumn was Mercer County’s first reported COVID-19 case.