On Friday, March 27, 2020, Tim Mironidis and his wife Liliana, received the call that they both tested positive for COVID-19. With so much uncertainty around this virus, the results frightened them, but they weren’t sure what to expect. Less than twenty-four hours later, paramedics took Tim to Bryn Mawr hospital with shortness of breath and a high fever. The virus moved quickly and mercilessly. Tim would spend the next month fighting for his life.
He was moved to the ICU and placed on a ventilator, which would be his reality for nearly three weeks while he battled the virus. Thankfully, Liliana’s symptoms remained relatively mild, and their children Eleni and Tony managed to stay reasonably healthy. But the nature of the illness overtook their lives in other ways, preventing them from being at Tim’s side to support him, and causing them unceasing distress and sadness. Their days were long, always awaiting phone calls from the doctors and nurses, and praying for their beloved husband and father. Their immeasurable strength for each other and Tim throughout the process was remarkable.
Various support systems became symbols of hope for Tim and his family throughout his sickness. First and foremost, the doctors and nurses at Bryn Mawr Hospital, who were incredibly attentive not only to him but to his family. They made telephone calls to the house several times a day with updates and answered any questions the family may have had, with care and genuine kindness.
Among those nurses were Bianca Mesoraca, Liliana’s goddaughter, and Gina Pilidis, a close family friend. The two of them made a point to check on him as often as they could and served as a comforting presence. Gina said many prayers over her Theio, and anointed him with Holy Unction and Myrrh from both the miraculous streaming icon of the Kardiotissa (Taylor, PA) and the Iveron icon (Hawaii). Their priest, Father Christ Kontos of Saint Luke’s in Broomall, was also a regular source of comfort and prayer to the family.
Thankfully, on Wednesday, April 22, the doctors and nurses, with the verbal support of his family, successfully extubated Tim. He began physical therapy that same afternoon, and remarkably, his wife and kids were able to pick him up on Thursday, April 30, just over a week later.
To celebrate, his sister-in-law Mirella Matteo and Tony’s best friend Evan Palmieri decided to plan a parade past the Mironidis home. Mirella handled the Italians, Evan dealt with the Greeks, and the communities did the rest!
On Saturday, May 2, family members, friends, members of the Greek community, neighbors, and the Haverford police department gathered in the parking lot of The Children’s Ark at St. George to organize and caravan.
“It was an amazing turn out of friends and family for a man who fought a silent war. This parade was not only to show our love and support for my brother-in-law but to show everyone out there that there is hope! We can get through this together,” said Mirellia Matteo.
An estimated 100 cars showed up in support holding signs, Greek flags, and beeping in celebration of Tim’s great triumph, prompting neighbors to come out and join. Tears of joy flowed from the family and all participants, and Timmy was smiling wide!
“To our loving family, friends, all of the doctors, nurses, and everyone who prayed for me, a huge thank you from my heart. To Bryn Mawr Hospital, I love you guys so much.” Tim said while putting his hand on his heart, a gesture he would make to his care team in the ICU while unable to speak.
In light of this glorious celebration, the family wants to urge people to take social distancing seriously, even if it means using them as a reminder of just how devastating this can be.
“While people find courage in my father’s recovery, I want those to take this virus seriously. Boredom will drive you to stir crazy, but I promise you it’s better to live on that end of the pandemic”, said Tony Mironidis.
“It’s important to keep our Orthodox faith grounded and strong when it is being tested the most. This horrible virus is terrifying the world… but God has conquered the world. To those who are struggling how we did- cling to Him and keep praying for His Love to save us. And pray for our brothers and sisters in the world”, added Eleni Mironidis.
Their prayers are with those still suffering, and those who won’t be able to return home. There are many. But today, they are counting their blessings, enjoying long overdue quality time with Tim, and looking forward to his full recovery.