PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Family and friends call Dave Champion’s remarkable recovery from an extreme case of long-hauler COVID-19 nothing short of a miracle.
“Champ,” as friends and clients call the popular Virginia DJ, took his first steps on Feb. 10, one day after a double lung transplant at the University of Virginia Medical Center.
Over the course of 11 months last year, the novel coronavirus destroyed his lungs after repeated bouts of pneumonia. The cause of multiple cases of pneumonia, the coronavirus, was not identified until it was almost too late.
After weeks of daily care and training from personal trainer Toya Monger, Champion, a former U.S. Navy man, is getting stronger and more confident each day.
“She’s been there since day one helping me out with my meds, taking me back and forth to my appointments every day. She’s helping me out so much trying to push me to the edge,” said Champion.
Now, Champion’s friends in Hampton Roads are about to push him to another type of edge in a roast organized by his client, Claudine Ellis.
“Dave is a comedian and a DJ, so I said ‘You know what I want to do? I want to roast Dave; I want to roast him.’ I want him to laugh and just be excited about life again,” said Ellis.
It’s called the Champ-athon, a live Facebook event, Thursday, March 25, featuring comedians KG DOTCOM and Quincy Carr.
In a recent joint Zoom interview featuring Carr, Ellis and Champion, Carr, who is also a barber, offered a sample of his style of humor.
“Well, judging by how Dave is looking now, we can expect a pair of clippers. I don’t like seeing his face like that. This is ridiculous — come on, you got to get it together and you better laugh hard every time, Dave.
Champion with a belly laugh responded: “I gotta catch my breath.”
Ellis hopes to raise awareness and funds for the man she calls a “walking miracle.”
“We’re gonna roast him good,” said Ellis.
“The Champ” will remain under 24-hour care near UVA Medical Center for another three months. He pays, out of pocket, $350 a month for the 40 medications he takes every day and has monthly expenses that total more than $5,000.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help with expenses.