© 2024 WFSU Public Media
WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Tallahassee Resident & 9/11 Survivor Relays Her Bout With COVID-19 In New Book

Close up of Christina Ray Stanton in a hospital bed wearing a face mask.
Christina Ray Stanton
Christina Ray Stanton was hospitalized twice in Tampa after suffering severe COVID-19 symptoms for weeks starting in late March.

Full disclosure: The reporter is among Christina's long-time friends from Tallahassee.

COVID-19 is known to be harder on the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions. Survivors of 9/11 whose lungs were damaged by toxic, chemical-laden dust have also been reporting severe symptoms.

Tallahassee resident Christina Ray Stanton, who lived in Manhattan during 9/11, is one of them. She contracted the coronavirus early in the pandemic. She’s dealing with some lingering symptoms, but she has since tested negative and is feeling much better.

“I still have no sense of taste and smell, and I do have some nerve damage, and I’ve lost about three-quarters of my hair,” Stanton says. “I’ve gained a lot of weight since the pandemic first began.” Stanton was a tour guide in the Big Apple, walking upwards of eight miles a day until the city shut down.

Her new book, Faith in the Face of COVID-19: A Survivor's Tale, takes readers from the early days of the pandemic – when Stanton’s nieces were visiting NYC for spring break – to the family’s quarantine in Tampa, where Stanton was hospitalized twice.

“It was that second time when I visited the hospital where they told me that I had a 50/50 chance of surviving this virus,” Stanton says, unhappy that doctors released her after normalizing her blood pressure and hydrating her enough to stop the heart palpitations.

Stanton says she got sick despite her efforts at masking up and taking other precautions. She even tried unsuccessfully to get a COVID-19 test before flying to Tampa with her husband and nieces. “We probably got the virus on that flight,” Stanton says.

Soon after arriving in Tampa, she started exhibiting nasty symptoms. She tested positive, but the hospital wouldn’t test her other family members. Instead, they were told to presume they had the virus and stay in quarantine.

Stanton’s first book, Out of the Shadow of 9/11, describes how her faith in God brought her through the attacks in NYC. Now, she writes about faith getting her through COVID-19.

“Even though I was in the hospital twice, and I was alone and nobody could visit me, and it was a very scary experience, I didn’t feel alone,” Stanton says. “I knew that the Holy Spirit was with me.”

Stanton doesn’t know when she and her husband can go home to NYC. She can’t work there until tourism comes back. So, they’re living in Tallahassee for now.

“I’m completely enjoying my time in Tallahassee. It’s great seeing high school friends. It’s great seeing my mother who still lives in the house that I grew up in,” says Stanton, now 51 years old. “I love biking everywhere and going to church. So I’m enjoying my life here.”

Read more about Stanton and see her photo gallery from 9/11 here.

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. Follow Gina: @hearyourthought on Twitter. Click below for Gina's full bio.