‘Joy is a good medicine’: Waterbury balloon company creates displays to bring joy to members of the community fighting coronavirus

News 8 Exclusive

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8’s LaSalle Blanks spoke exclusively with two members of a Waterbury congregation hit hard by the coronavirus and to one company bringing them hope on their own road to recovery.

Leah Alphonse and Ana Velez are two of the 18 members of the House of Prayer Church who have tested positive for coronavirus and are among the 15 who have recovered.

Leah is pregnant and explains that that added a further layer of fear while she was fighting the virus, saying, “Scary at times with respiratory distress mostly. Not knowing when you’ll be able to breathe again.”

She says coughing spells could last 45 minutes to an hour. She said she was most worried about her unborn son, Samuel. She says it was an extremely difficult time, “because we don’t have a lot of information. We don’t really know what this virus can do or if it truly affects the baby.”

Ana echoed the sentiment, saying, “Around 9 days of fever, I was just giving up. I was crying out to God and telling Him I can’t do this.”

Susy and Andres Marrero are using their balloon display business to try and bring emotional healing and hope to people like Leah and Ana fighting the coronavirus.

Susy Marrero of Balloons by M explained, “We’re just trying to bring some joy to the community, put some smiles on everyone.”

Susy and Andres want their Balloons of Hope displays to help COVID-19 patients win the emotional war against the virus.

When News 8 told Ana and Leah the purpose behind the balloons, they said their spirits were lifted and they felt so grateful, “To take the time to put into that kind of work is great. Joy is good medicine,” said Leah.

“Looking at that,” Ana added, “it’s like someone thought of me. Someone took time to do such a beautiful thing out of such an ugly virus.”

Ana and Leah say they’re on the mend, and Leah’s doctor tells her her unborn son is doing just fine.

Susy and Andres are seeking permission from the city to display their therapy around the Brass City.

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