Husband of woman who lost parents, brother to COVID-19 gets released from hospital

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GROVE CITY, Ohio (WCMH) — Kelly Conkey Billups says her husband Don fought hard against COVID-19 and survived. After four weeks in the hospital, much of that time on a ventilator, Don was released Tuesday morning. 

“What a great day,” said Kelly Conkey Billups. “One of God’s miracles just rolled out of Mount Carmel Grove City on his way to rehab.”

Friends and family and hospital staff cheered and held signs as Don was wheeled out of the hospital on a gurney and transported to a waiting ambulance.

Mary Ann Fish said she had been texting Kelly every day to let her know she’s been thinking about the couple.

“He’s had a lot of prayers going out and they’ve been answered and we’re so thankful,” Fish said.

For Kelly, it was a day of celebration amid several weeks of grief.

In late March, COVID-19 took the lives of both of her parents and her younger brother. They died one after another over three days. 

And by then, Don Billups’ life was in jeopardy as well. He was in bad shape and on a ventilator. Kelly, meanwhile, was forced to remain quarantined at home.

Kelly’s cousin Trisha Gruendel said the inability to have physical contact with loved ones has made this extremely difficult, especially for Kelly.

“I could not imagine how she feels inside to not be there for her brother, for her mom and dad, for Don,” Gruendel said. “It would eat me up inside.”

Kelly said her focus now is on helping Don get better and stronger.

“We will grieve together when the time is right,” Kelly says. “Numbness is my new friend because it’s difficult to feel the pain of my tremendous loss and to celebrate his recovery, which are both extremely important to me.”

Don’s release from the hospital was a big moment for nurses and doctors who cared for him. Hospital president Sean McKibben joined staff members for the celebration outside.

“To have such good news on a day like today really is energy that our team needs,” McKibben said. “They’ve been working so hard taking care of our patients and truly have put themselves on the front line of the battle.”

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News