July 26, 2020 at 2:48 AM EDT – Updated July 26 at 2:48 AM
FREMONT, Neb. (KETV/CNN) – Though the coronavirus almost killed a 73-year-old woman from Nebraska, she calls the virus and its complications a “blessing” because it helped her reunite with a sister she hadn’t seen in more than 50 years.
Doris Crippen, 73, spent 30 days at Methodist Hospital and returned home as a COVID-19 survivor. But, still weak from her experience, Crippen fell and broke her arm when she got home.
“I was a pretty sick gal, and I almost experienced death. I thank God every five minutes because it’s God’s blessing this gal is alive today,” Crippen said. “When I fell the phone was up here and I’m down here on the floor, so I couldn’t call nobody for help. I laid there overnight and half a day.”
Crippen was eventually sent to Fremont Methodist Health’s Dunklau Gardens for rehabilitation, where 53-year-old Bev Boro has worked as a medication aide for more than two decades.
“I seen her name on the board here, and I just couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I think this is my sister,’” Boro said.
Boro had been looking for her sister for years but only had her name to work with. In 1967, she and her five siblings were separated by the state of Nebraska after their father left them at home alone. Boro was just 6 months old at the time.
Knowing Crippen was deaf, Boro wrote her father’s name, Wendall Huffman, on a white board for the patient she hoped was her sister to read.
“She goes, ‘That’s my daddy.’ And I pointed at myself, knowing she’s hard of hearing, going that’s mine, too. She looked at me like ‘what,’ and she sees because of the eyes. I have our dad’s eyes,” Boro said.
As it turns out, the two are the oldest and youngest siblings separated all those years ago.
“She said, ‘I am your sister, Bev.’ I nearly fell out of the chair, and I just burst into tears. It was just a happy feeling to find my sister. It’s been 53 years since I seen her, and she was a baby,” Crippen said.
The sisters believe this isn’t a random reunion, saying this was meant to be. In an unexpected way, COVID-19 gave them hope and reconnected their family.
“It’s wonderful. In the end, we don’t have to search anymore. The journey’s over,” Crippen said.
Copyright 2020 KETV, Family photos, Hearst via CNN. All rights reserved.