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Man who lost lung battling cancer survives COVID-19 decade later

BEAVER CO., Pa. — A local man who lost a lung to cancer about a decade ago had to survive another battle -- this time, with coronavirus.

It started as what he assumed was just a cold, but when Richard Botti, 61, started to feel lung pain in early March, he thought his cancer had returned, but it turned out to be COVID-19.

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Because of his previous bout with cancer, he was higher risk. And his family told Channel 11 he started to get worse, so they got very concerned.

“It slowly got worse and he wasn’t getting out of bed,” said Vanessa Venezie, his daughter. "You immediately think the worst because of everything you’re seeing and reading.

He soon tested positive for coronavirus and had to be hospitalized. However, he survived after 11 days at Heritage Valley Hospital hooked up to oxygen.

Botti’s daughter wanted to share that outcomes aren’t all grim.

“We’re just really happy and we want people to know there is hope for them,” Venezie said. "Stay focused on the positive, do things that make you feel good. We can all get trapped in the negative."

Botti was taken back home by medics in an ambulance equipped to handle COVID-19 cases. He has to self-isolate in his room away from his family for two weeks.