PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — WAVY-TV 10 last year was proud to recognize Norfolk native Regina Darden as the top honoree in the Remarkable Women program.
From a church in the Ocean View section of Norfolk, her HOPE Foundation opened its doors to provide food and shelter from the sun’s punishing rays when most shelters closed their doors for the summer.
And then pandemic hit. Darden’s team hit the streets to feed the homeless. Her involvement in the charity she founded came to a screeching halt one Sunday in April. Upon returning home from church services, she felt aches and pains all over her body.
“They rushed me to the hospital [Sentara Princess Anne] and I was diagnosed with COVID there. That night they brought me back home, they gave me some kind of medicine there to ease the pain, but when I came home the next day I could not breathe,” she said.
“And they rushed me back over there and that’s where I stayed in the hospital for 21 days,” she added.
It was touch and go for a while as doctors debated whether to place her on a ventilator. No visitors were allowed but Darden, a person of faith, says she heard from nine close relatives, all of whom are deceased.
“And when I was in the hospital room, all nine of them came to me and they said ‘Regina come on, you are OK, you have done good, you can go.’ And my twin [brother] said Regina come on just relax. I was like, ‘I don’t want to die.'”
On the other side of her hospital room, she saw another figure.
“And I said, ‘God, I don’t want to die,’ and he said ask me ‘What you want?’ and I said ‘God, I want to live’ and as soon as I said I want to live, they [deceased relatives] disappeared — all of them,” she said.
Darden’s condition improved and after 21 days she was released from Sentara Princess Anne Hospital.
She remained on oxygen at home for several weeks and is under treatment for long hauler symptoms.
“When I stutter, I find myself — that is due to the COVID; they have what they call brain fog — have the word in my mind but I can’t spit it out. So if you see me trying to say something it’s because of that,” she said.
Darden remains determined to make a difference.
On Sunday, 10 On Your Side’s Regina Mobley is partnering with HOPE Foundation for the organization’s second World Homeless Day Telethon.
In addition, tomorrow look for Regina Darden and a special presentation on the Hampton Roads Show.