Mary Lou Retton has always been an inspiration to many, dating back to when she made history as the first American woman to win an individual all-around gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Now, Retton is inspiring others again due to the difficulty she has faced in recent days. The 55-year-old Olympic gold medalist has fallen ill from a rare form of pneumonia and is currently fighting for her life in an intensive care unit (ICU).
Retton’s daughter, McKenna Kelley, has started a GoFundMe to help pay for her mother’s medical bills, as the family was unaware that Retton was not covered by health insurance. As of now, over 4,000 donors have contributed to the fund, and it has already exceeded its goal of $50,000, raising a total of $272,431.
Kelley’s message reads, “My amazing mom, Mary Lou, has a very rare form of pneumonia and is fighting for her life. 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. We ask that if you could help in any way, that 1) you PRAY! and 2) if you could help us with finances for the hospital bill. ANYTHING, absolutely anything, would be so helpful for my family and my mom. Thank y’all so very much!”
Retton gained popularity in 1984 after she won the gold medal for gymnastics at the Los Angles Olympics, followed by being named “Sportswoman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated and appearing on the Wheaties box. Later on Retton retired, winning the American Cup all-around competition in 1985, and was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997.
Kelley followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a gymnast herself, competing for Louisiana State University. McKenna and her sisters, Shayla, Skyla, and Emma ask for prayers and help for their mother as she is fighting for her life in an ICU due to the rare form of pneumonia. Hopefully, with the help of the kind donors that have already contributed to the fundraiser, Retton can make a full recovery.