‘PRAY!’ Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton Fights for Life in ICU

Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Mary Lou Retton is fighting for her life, and her daughter is asking people to pray as her mother battles a rare form of pneumonia.

McKenna Kelley, gymnast and second child of Retton, shared on her Instagram stories Monday that her mother is “fighting for her life” in the ICU and is not able to breathe on her own.
Kelley started a fundraising campaign on Retton’s behalf for medical expenses, sharing on a Spotfund page that her mother does not currently have medical insurance.

“My amazing mom, Mary Lou, has a very rare form of pneumonia and is fighting for her life,” she wrote in a message on the fundraising 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 (is) 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,” Kelley continued.

So far, the fundraiser has raised more than $192,000 of its $50,000 goal. 

“ANYTHING, absolutely anything, would be so helpful for my family and my mom. Thank y’all so very much,” Kelley wrote on the fundraising platform. 

Retton became a sports icon at the age of 16 after becoming the first American to win an individual all-around gold medal during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

She also won two silver and two bronze medals at those games and helped bring gymnastics – a sport long dominated by eastern European powers like Romania and the Soviet Union – into the mainstream in the U.S.

She retired in 1986, but remained in the spotlight playing cameo roles in daytime television including performing on season 27 of Dancing with the Stars, PEOPLE reports.

In 1997, she was inducted into the Gymnastics Hall of Fame and also had a park and street named for her in her hometown of Fairview, West Virginia.

Retton, a born-again Christian, once told CBN that her faith has kept her grounded through the highs and lows of fame. 

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my relationship with God,” she shared. “My relationship with Jesus Christ is so much stronger now, but then, I mean, I knew He gave me talent and I knew that He brought Bela Karolyi into my life to bring that talent out. I give Him all the glory. He gave me something, [and] I worked for it, but I just praise Him every day for what He has in store for me.” 

She added, “He has a purpose for all of us. And I think winning that gold medal and putting me in that public arena was just a small little step of what He has in store for me. I really believe that.”

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