Adversity: Two amazing pandemic stories to inspire

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We love to celebrate success. That hasn’t always been easy over the last eighteen months, but today we celebrate some amazing people who have been tested by this pandemic and used the experience to help others.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept around the globe, all of us have faced challenges. The health and economic challenges have been huge, while fundamental changes to the way we live, work, and come together during life’s momentous events have tested us all.

In this article, we highlight two individuals whose lives have been affected by the pandemic but whose experiences offer an optimistic future and a vision of success in the face of adversity.

Gastronome Michele Crippa

Michele Crippa’s palate was renowned in Italy’s gastronomic circles; he was capable of appreciating the most subtle of flavors. However, in March 2020, COVID-19 took away his sense of taste. He refused to give up.

The New York Times reports that Michele Crippa “retrained himself over months, with the help of sensorial analysis experts who train winemakers and truffle hunters. While he believes he has a long way to go before getting back to his former feats of smell, he has emerged in Italy as a symbol of gastronomic resilience – and of hope that the lingering effects of COVID-19 can be surmounted.”

Today, he is helping other sufferers to regain their own senses of smell and taste. The New York Times reports, “As reports of his rehabilitation spread across Italian newspapers, he received messages from hundreds of people who had also lost their smell, including a mortified pastry chef in a three-star Michelin restaurant and disheartened sommeliers…. National radio and TV shows have invited on Mr. Crippa as a guest, and magazines have requested to share his 10-point guide to recovering the sense of smell and taste. He also is developing a recipe book for people who lost their sense of taste or have found it distressingly transformed by the virus.”

Author Michael Rosen

The former UK Children’s Laureate and author of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake and Sad Book was also laid low by COVID-19 in March 2020. At first, he was struggling to breathe, then he was admitted to hospital where he spent six weeks in an induced coma, followed by many more weeks of rehab and recovery.

A community of fans and well-wishers, including many people whom the poet and author had inspired during his distinguished career, prayed for his recovery. However, while Michael Rosen was eventually discharged, he continues to suffer from the debilitating effects of the virus. Now a vocal advocate for long-COVID sufferers, he has written about his experience.

His publishers report, “Embarking on the long road to recovery, Michael was soon ready to start writing about his near-death experience. Combining stunning new prose poems by one of Britain’s best loved poets and the moving coronavirus diaries of his nurses, doctors and wife Emma-Louise Williams, this is a beautiful book about love, life and the NHS. Featuring original illustrations by Chris Riddell, each page celebrates the power of community, the importance of kind gestures in dark times, and the indomitable spirits of the people who keep us well.”

Find out more about this story in Many Different Kinds of Love by Michael Rosen.