ORLANDO, Fla. - Lorenzo Rodriguez, 83, is breathing all on his own without a ventilator for the first time in 24 days.
“What can I tell you? There’s no words to express the feelings I had,” said Esther Silva.
Her father has been battling COVID-19 since the end of March.
Doctors at a Miami hospital placed Lorenzo on a ventilator and into a medically-induced coma on April 3.
Two weeks went by and there was no improvement.
Esther worried about losing her dad.
Up late one night, she remembered seeing a story online about an Easter miracle in Orlando.
“A story from Orlando... someone that had recovered, and I heard something about a plasma treatment,” Esther said.
She found a story that FOX 35 News had done on Michael Kevin Rathel waking up 72 hours after receiving convalescent plasma.
And, she saw another FOX 35 News story about how Rathel’s wife, Stacie, advocated for Orlando Health to try the experimental treatment on her husband after nothing else seemed to work.
“I said to myself, 'If she did it, why can’t I do it?' So, that gave me a lot of encouragement to find out about the plasma treatment,” Esther said.
In April, Esther says she asked her dad’s doctors to try convalescent plasma on her father.
The next morning she got a call from a nurse who said they had found the plasma for my dad.
"God had answered my prayers,” Esther said.
Later that night, more of her prayers were answered.
“I get another text from the nurse telling me my dad had opened his eyes and moved his left hand,” Esther said.
Lorenzo is now communicating more.
“He acknowledges what we’re asking by blinking his eyes,” Esther said.
Since her father received the plasma from a COVID-19 survivor, Esther has been in close contact with the Rathel's and their plasma donor.
Rathel's wife, Stacie, says she now looks forward to daily updates from Esther.
“That was a very touching addition to our story, getting that kind of feedback," Stacie said. "Knowing that what you’ve done, gone through - as horrible as it is - has actually helped someone else"
She says she’s been getting updates from at least a dozen other families who have advocated for their loved ones to get convalescent plasma after hearing her husband's story.