America Together Logo

COVID-19 patient gives back to lifesaving medical team

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

On March 22, 1980, as a newborn baby, Adam Lilling underwent a lifesaving, experimental pancreatic surgery and was given a second chance at life thanks to the staff at Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center on Long Island, N.Y.

Now, 40 years later, Lilling is receiving lifesaving care from Northwell’s doctors and nurses as a COVID-19 patient.

“I started out my life being saved by doctors and nurses in a hospital," said Lilling. “I’d never expect that 40 years later I’d be back fighting for my life again.”

On Lilling’s 40th birthday, he was notified that his COVID-19 test was positive. He told Fox News that his condition was deteriorating when he was admitted to North Shore University Hospital, which is part of Northwell Health.

He spent six days fighting COVID-19 and participated in a Feinstein Institutes Regeneron Clinical Trial.

“I think it was actually very helpful because my white blood cell count came down after that and I started feeling a lot better after six days in the hospital,” he said.

Lilling was grateful to be on the road to recovery, despite having to be quarantined from his wife and two young daughters. He showed his thanks by sending pizzas and soda to the medical team that took care of him.

Experience, however, taught him that he could do more.

After Lilling’s surgery 40 years ago, his parents, Marcia and Mark, created the Lilling Family Fund for Neonatal Research. The fund has since raised $500,000 after their baby son’s pancreatic surgery.

“My family has always had a ton of gratitude for Northwell, and for all the doctors that saved my life when I was a baby,” said Lilling. “Me and my wife, my brother, my parents, and other family friends all donate on an annual basis to the fund for neonatal research.”

To make a more meaningful impact on the hospital’s COVID-19 response, Lilling began reaching out to his social networking group and created a fundraising page through Northwell’s community fundraising website. The generosity flooded in and, within a week, the group had raised more than $10,000 to provide medical supplies, paid child care, and mental health expenses.

“I'm clearly a very lucky guy to be sitting here working from home with my family and recovering with this great life that I have,” said Lilling. “Anything I can do to help the heroes who worked to help save me, would be a really good thing.”

For more on Adam Lilling’s experience with coronavirus, watch the full video above.

Emily DeCiccio is a reporter and video producer for Fox News Digital Originals. Tweet her @EmilyDeCiccio.