Mary Lou Retton / Instagram
On October 10th, on of Mary Lou Retton’s four daughters created a crowdfunding page to ask for prayers and for financial help for her mother.
“My amazing mom, Mary Lou, has a very rare form of pneumonia and is fighting for her life,” McKenna Kelley wrote on the page. “She is not able to breathe on her own. She’s been in the ICU for over a week now. Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not disclose all details. However, I will disclose that she not insured.”
At press time, nearly $$459,324 of the $50,000 goal had been raised, with more than 8,000 fans contributing to the cause.
When she was just 16 years old in 1984, Retton made history as the first American woman to clinch the all-around gold medal, and became the most decorated athlete at the Los Angeles Olympics that year.
Just a few weeks after undergoing knee surgery, Retton competed in the Olympic Games and received perfect scores on both the vault and her floor routine. This remarkable performance secured her the all-around gold medal with a mere 0.05-point advantage. This triumph earned Retton the title of Sports Illustrated’s “Sportswoman of the Year.”
Her competitive spirit persisted, as she went on to secure her third American Cup all-around title before retiring from gymnastics in 1986. Following her gymnastics career, Mary Lou Retton transitioned to the entertainment industry, making appearances in television shows and movies, in addition to serving as a commentator. In 2018, she showcased her talents on Dancing With The Stars alongside professional dancer Sasha Farber. They came in 9th place.
On October 16, McKenna made a statement on her Instagram page saying that her mom’s “fighting spirit is truly shining” and that “her breathing is becoming stronger, and her reliance on machines is diminishing.”
Thankfully, at the time, Mary Lou was “responding to treatments,” according to McKenna’s statement.
Despite all the progress she made, she suffered a “scary” setback, as revealed by her oldest daughter Shayla Kelley Schrepfer on October 19. Schrepfer shared the update on an Instagram video.
In the video, Schrepfer says, “At the beginning of this week, we were going on the up and up. We were so excited, seeing so much progress, and then yesterday we had a pretty scary setback.”
She didn’t reveal what exactly the setback was, but said that Retton is still in the ICU and that they are “working through some things.”
On October 23, McKenna shared that Retton was released from the hospital and doing the rest of her recovery at home. She thanksed everyone for their thoughts and prayers.
On October 31, Mary Lou Retton herself made her first statement since her hospitalization. She took to her Instagram and wrote,
“I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to make this statement. I am overwhelmed with all the love and support from the world as I fight. I am forever grateful to you all.”
She revealed she is recovering with her family by her side and knows how long the process will take, so she is trying to stay positive.
I appreciate everyone’s respect of my privacy at this time,” she wrote. “When the time is right, I will be sharing more information about my health issues and hope I can help others who may face the same battle as me.”
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We are so happy to hear she is on the mend, and we will continue to pray for her recovery, as it sounds like she has a long road ahead of her.
Watch her PERFECT floor routine from the Olympics below.