HAMPTON, Va. - At only 26, Deion Campbell nearly lost his life to a dark, unforgiving disease.
"For me, my symptoms were a fever that just wouldn't break and ended up progressing. Then, I got double pneumonia in the hospital and was put on a ventilator," said Campbell.
The Hampton resident went to the Sentara CarePlex Hospital three times in one week back in early March until they finally figured out he was one of the first cases of COVID-19 in the state.
"Honestly, I didn't even know what a ventilator was before I got to the hospital - never heard of it. It was new to me, but a blessing," he said.
The professional photographer known as King Legend 757 was kept alive by the ventilator. He was on it for 12 days in a deep sleep - 40 days total, hospitalized and clinging to life
"Literally when I came off the ventilator, it was like a fresh start. I had to get my motor skills back," he said.
The medical device he had no idea existed is now the title of his new book that was just released.
"When I was thinking about title of book, I wanted it to stick with me and the reader and grab their attention," said Campbell.
He said he felt compelled to talk about his experience after waking up and scrolling online, where many people claimed that the virus that nearly cost him his life was fake.
"After seeing all that, I was like, 'Man, I can't let people think that I almost died from a fake virus.' This virus is real, and people need to understand it's affecting people right next door to them," he said.
The illness did leave his mark on Campbell in several ways, mainly damage to his right arm. He's gaining back his motor skills so he can continue to take the pictures he is known for in the 757.
"There has been an outstanding amount of love and support, and I hope this inspires people to speak up about COVID," he said.
For a link to purchase the book, click here.