ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – A man from Parker had one of the first cases of COVID-19 in Colorado. In March of 2020, he contracted the virus and suffered a stroke.┬áCory Smith and his wife, Jenn Cline, say it changed their lives forever.

“Cory was always kind of like the life of the party,” explained Cline.

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CBS4’s Kathy Walsh interviews Jenn Cline and Cory Smith (credit: CBS)

Smith was an outdoorsman, big on four-wheeling and a hiker who climbed many a Colorado mountain with his wife.

“I really can’t do any of those things anymore,” Smith told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
He is paralyzed on his left side and uses a wheelchair. It is a complication of a massive stroke in March 2020.

Smith had gotten COVID-19.

“He was just miserable,” explained Cline.

She says he was getting better, but then…

“He fell out of bed. He couldn’t move at all, and he could barely speak,” Cline said.

The 38 year old had a blood clot in his brain.

(credit: Jenn Cline and Cory Smith)

“I did not know it could happen,” said Cline with tears in her eyes.

Part of Smith’s skull was removed to relieve swelling. He had five brain surgeries over eight months in hospitals.

“I’m amazed he’s alive,” said Dr. Michael Makley, Smith’s neurologist at Craig Hospital.

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He was asked if COVID-19 caused the stroke.

“We think it did,” he said.

Smith spent seven months in rehab at Craig. For much of the time, Cline could only see him on FaceTime.

“The first thing they taught him to say again was, ‘l love you,'” she said.

Smith is still in speech and physical therapy at Craig.

(credit: Jenn Cline and Cory Smith)

“The left side is going to be a problem for him forever,” said Makley.

“I didn’t think anything like this was going to happen to me,” said Smith.

“I try to remind him how far he’s come,” said Cline.

Smith and Cline want all to see that COVID-19 is not a hoax.

“It’s very real. People are dying from it and it can change your life,” said Cline.

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It changed their lives forever.