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Sonya Bryson-Kirksey set to be released from hospital Friday

The Lightning’s U.S. national anthem singer has been hospitalized with COVID-19-pneumonia since July 16.
Lightning U.S. national anthem singer Sonya Bryson-Kirksey is scheduled to be released from the hospital on Friday, according to her husband.
Lightning U.S. national anthem singer Sonya Bryson-Kirksey is scheduled to be released from the hospital on Friday, according to her husband. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Aug. 11

TAMPA — Sonya Bryson-Kirksey received some good news Wednesday. After fighting for her life in the hospital for the past month, the Lightning’s U.S. national anthem singer is set to be discharged on Friday, according to her husband, Jimmie Kirksey Jr.

Bryson-Kirksey, 54, of Riverview has been hospitalized for nearly a month battling COVID-19 pneumonia, which poses a greater danger to her due to underlying medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis.

Despite being vaccinated in mid-March, the retired Air Force technical sergeant contracted the highly contagious delta variant and was admitted to the hospital on July 16 with a 103-degree fever.

“(This) is probably the sickest I’ve been in my entire life,” Bryson-Kirksey said at the time in a text message to the Tampa Bay Times. “Breathing is hard. Talking is hard.”

From her hospital room, Bryson-Kirksey implored others to get vaccinated if they had not already, saying she may have picked up the virus from someone at the Lightning’s Stanley Cup boat parade celebration who didn’t know they had it.

“People who don’t get vaccinated are the carriers of these variants and they never even know,” she said. “They need to know COVID-pneumonia is not your sister’s home-bound mild case.”

Bryson-Kirksey spent a week in the intensive care unit earlier this month after her fever spiked. When the fever finally broke, she returned to a regular hospital room on Aug. 4 to work on her breathing and lungs.

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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