23-year-old COVID survivor, amputee presented with new prosthetic before holidays

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A 23-year-old woman received a new prosthetic on Wednesday after losing her leg from her second battle with COVID.

After arriving back from a girl’s trip in Aruba to celebrate her 23rd birthday in June, Takira Koonce, by her own account, should not even be standing here today.

Koonce said she caught COVID for a second time during her trip, but this time ended up in the hospital on a ventilator and then an ECMO machine, which did the work for her failing heart and lungs.

“I literally went to urgent care and then next thing I knew I was waking up in the hospital,” said Koonce.

Koonce recovered from her second battle with COVID but this time the left side of her body was not receiving enough blood and oxygen.

According to Koonce, her left leg which suffered severe muscle and tissue damage was amputated in July.

“Somehow, my left side took the worse toll and it’s where most things weren’t getting oxidized blood and the circulation wasn’t happening properly,” she said. “My arm was actually swollen, too and they thought they would have to amputate my arm as well.”

Despite facing many challenges, remarkably enough, Koonce was in rehab the next day.

Certified Prosthetist Orthotist, Clinic Manager Laura McRickard said she’s proud of how far Koonce has come.

“She’s come a long way since the first time I met her,” said McRickard.

Koonce was not only given a new prosthetic at the Orthotic and Prosthetic Centers right before the holidays but says that she’s moving faster each day.

“I’m moving really fast,” she said. “Everybody’s always telling me that I’m recovering like amazing, like—faster than expected.”

Koonce told Local 10 News’ Layron Livingston that she is grateful that she is alive and plans on running again with track and field being one of her greatest passions.

“Your life doesn’t have to stop,” she said. “You’re bigger than your situation—this doesn’t have to be it.”

About the Authors:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.