(UPDATED Thursday, Oct. 21, with a picture of the Russell family and a comment from Faith Russell.)
Thousands of people and scores of churches who have been praying for Charlie Russell during his two-month battle with COVID pneumonia received very encouraging reports in recent days.
“Charlie’s road to recovery in the past week has been remarkable,” Charlie’s grandfather, Bob Russell—retired senior minister of Southeast Christian Church in Kentucky—wrote in his blog post at his website on Sunday. “First, doctors removed him from the ECMO machine that was providing heart and lung support. Then he was removed from kidney dialysis. Finally, three days ago, doctors removed the ventilator, and he is now breathing entirely on his own. . . . He is eating on his own, communicating with us, and, through physical therapy, beginning to stand and attempting to walk.”
Over the weekend, Charlie, 26, was moved from the intensive care unit to a regular floor at the Nashville, Tenn., hospital that has been treating him.
Updates on his challenges and progress are posted regularly at the “Charlie’s Road to Recovery!” Facebook page maintained by his wife, Faith. The page has more than 8,500 followers.
In a post Sunday, a video of Charlie with his father, Rusty Russell—lead pastor of New Day Christian Church in Port Charlotte, Fla.—thanks everyone for their concern and prayers.
“I’m here with my son, Charlie,” Rusty says in the video. “He’s doing great. I’m so happy with how much progress he’s making, and he just wanted to tell you all thank you.”
And then, from his hospital bed, Charlie shares, “Thanks so much for praying for me, guys. I think I’m almost there, and I really appreciate that you’ve been lifting me up towards heaven. Thank you.”
In that same post, Faith Russell wrote: “Charlie had another good day! . . . I had another great visit with him. It’s just so nice talking to him like normal and getting to tell him about Charity.”
Charity is Charlie and Faith Russell’s daughter, born in August just as Charlie’s COVID battle was starting.
“He’s loved hearing how she is and looking at photos,” Faith Russell continued. “He loves telling the nurses about how small and skinny her arms are. Ha! We love our little baby! . . .
“We also FaceTimed our Bible study group for a few minutes,” she wrote. “Charlie even joked about there being a bunch of leftovers from the food because he’s not there to finish them. Haha.”
(By the way, in an email to Christian Standard this morning—Thursday, Oct. 21—Faith Russell wrote: “Another amazing part of Charlie’s story is he got to meet our daughter twice over the past two weeks for the first time since she was born.”)
In his post Sunday, Bob Russell shared that a Christian college president who visits many churches during his travels told him, “I have never seen a time when our brotherhood of churches were so united in prayer about one person. It’s amazing how many people are praying for [Charlie]!”
Bob Russell also wrote, “I don’t want to be premature and exclaim, ‘Charlie is completely healed!’ because we know there remain risks during what will be a very long recovery as well as the potential for long-term residuals. . . . But I would be remiss if I did not stop and ask you to join me in giving God glory for answered prayer at this point.”