Mary Lou Retton Gives Update on Fighting for Her Life and Says Her Survival Is All God

mary lou retton fighting for her life

Eight months ago, Mary Lou Retton was fighting for her life. Today, she is thankful to God and her four daughters.

Mary Lou Retton, 56, is known for her goal-winning success during the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She won five medals and became the first American in history to win the all-around gold medal in Olympic gymnastics.

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Mary Lou Was Fighting For Her Life

Last fall, however, she was hospitalized and was literally fighting for her life with pneumonia. Surrounded by her four daughters, they were unsure she would make it. But she did, and she is now talking to Deidre Behar from Entertainment Today with an update on her health, sharing some very happy and exciting news at the end.

Deidre starts the interview by asking Mary Lou, “What is the state of your health right now?” She responds, “Well, I’m obviously still on oxygen.” As you can see, she is attached to it during the interview. “I’m tired of this thing up my nose,” she laughs.

Mary Lou still has trouble breathing and getting enough breath to speak. “I haven’t been able to really work because I don’t know if I can get up on stage and do an hour-long talk as I’ve done for 40 years,” she says.

God Wasn’t Ready to Let Mary Lou Go

She talks about her recovery and shares about her lungs. They are unfortunately scared and are going to stay that way. She also recalls the time she spent in the hospital last fall. It was quite an emotional time for her whole family, even though she doesn’t remember it.

“They prayed over me and were about to put me on the ventilator, and I pulled through,” she tells Deidre. “I believe it’s the big man upstairs…he’s not ready for me up there.” Her daughters prayed over her and were prepared to say their goodbyes.

She had some serious mom guilt because her four daughters had to endure all that. Shayla, 29, McKenna, 27, Skyla, 23, and Emma, 22, were constantly by her side.

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Mary Lou is a Medical Mystery

It must have been a heartbreaking and emotional experience for all of them, but as Mary Lou says, God was there. It has been seven months since then, and the doctors still don’t know what is wrong. They are calling it a rare form of pneumonia, and she is somewhat of a medical mystery.

Mary Lou Retton was hospitalized without health insurance. ” How is one of our most beloved and treasured American iconic athletes without insurance?” Deidre asks.

Mary Lou shares how her divorce in 2018 and COVID, which impacted her ability to find work, led to being without extra money and insurance. She also mentions that the height of her fame was years ago. And while she could make enough for her life and bills, the added financial stress was too much.

The Money Raised Will Go For Medical Bills

Because of the financial stress, her daughter McKenna started an online fundraiser. Although there were some naysayers, they raised almost $500,000 from over 8,000 donors. The public stepped up to help their treasured hero.

The money will all go to medical bills, and anything left will be donated to the American Lung Association. Thankfully, Mary Lou is now insured and will be on supplemental oxygen for at least another year.

She can walk a little, and you can see her in the video walking with Deidre and her dog, Honey. She has also been using treadmills and rowing machines.

Deidre has a big surprise for Mary Lou as she brings out a special message from a familiar face. It’s from Sasha Farber, Mary Lou’s dance partner from her time on Dancing With the Stars in 2018.

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A Special Message For Mary Lou

“Hi, Mary Lou. It’s your favorite Aussie dance partner. There is nothing that you can not do or beat, so just remember that. You are Mary Lou Retton, and I love you. Can’t wait to see you. Giving you a big hug.”

What a sweet and motivating message! We discover that Sasha would say that to Mary Lou daily during the show. I am sure this helped her emotionally, both then and now.

Mary Lou has her highs and lows. “This experience really changed me, and I’ve been struggling with that,” she says. And how could it not? Anytime we have to go through something unexpected and challenging, we can grow through it, but it will forever change us. Thankfully, we have God to depend on through it all.

Mary Lou is Going to Be a Grandma

As the interview wrapped up, we learned that Mary Lou Retton will be a grandmother. One of her daughters is pregnant, and Mary Lou has already picked out her grandma name, “Lulu.” “How does that feel?” Deidre asks. With tears in her eyes, she says, ” I have so much to look forward to.”

The baby will be named Penelope, and Mary Lou couldn’t be more excited about welcoming the new addition to the family.

WATCH: Mary Lou Retton Talks About Fighting For Her Life

Deidre asks her, “Who or what would you say has really helped you get through this really challenging time?”

Mary Lou mentions her four daughters. “My daughters inspired me…and they do every day,” she says. “And their my biggest accomplishment.”

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We will continue to pray for the former Olympic gymnast as she works through her health struggles and enjoys her new role as “Lulu,” surrounded by her loving family.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” – 3 John 1:2

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h/t: NBC News

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Entertainment Tonight