Wife of Covid patient left without speech hails his ‘amazing strength’

The family of Steve Laviniere has been a constant throughout his recovery battle after he was admitted to hospital with Covid (Picture: Bobby Laviniere/@bobbyandsteveUK)

The family of one of Britain’s longest-running Covid patients has hailed his fighting spirit as they mark two years since he was hospitalised.

Steve Laviniere has overcome several health scares after being admitted on March 29, 2020, including 25 days in an induced coma in intensive care.

His wife, Julie, told Metro.co.uk that the house music DJ has seen off additional complications which have threatened his life on top of Covid.

‘I am so proud of Steve and his amazing strength over the last two years,’ she said. ‘To pull through all that he has encountered on this journey since contracting Covid, with the subsequent chest infections and twice having sepsis, has been truly amazing.

‘His amazing recoveries have even surprised the doctors.’

Steve’s twin, Bobby, was hospitalised a few days later but recovered after two weeks. Steve, from Crawley, West Sussex, then pulled out of the coma and also overcame organ failure.

But the virus affected his nervous system, inflaming his brain cells and causing acute haemorrhagic leukoencephalitis, also known as Hurst disease.

As a result, the long-term patient is unable to communicate or move his body and needs to be fed through a tube, a condition known as prolonged disorder of consciousness.

His family is nevertheless encouraged by the fact that he is able to blink, has a sleep pattern and has shown signs that he is aware of his surroundings and their attention.


Julie Lavinere has been by her husband Steve’s side during his battle with Covid and related complications (PIcture: Bobby Laviniere/@bobbyandsteveUK )

Julie, 53, said: ‘The holding of a hand or a cuddle, both of which Steve loves, or hearing the words, laughter or encouragement of a loved one can boost him. We give Steve all this in abundance when we visit.

‘In the future being able to spend more time surrounding him with these things will hopefully give him that continued determination to conquer the challenges with responses and communication he still faces.’

Steve, 58, was initially treated in East Surrey Hospital before being moved to another hospital in Surrey, where he is in an on-site nursing home.

In August, the family was told to prepare for the worst as his oxygen levels crashed and he was found to have kidney stones. Steve overcame the setback and was even seen to mouth the F-word as he recovered in hospital – which his family has taken as a positive sign.


Steve Laviniere has a wide circle of family and friends, including his wife, Julie, rallying around as he fights long Covid (Picture: Bobby & Steve/GoFundMe)

Bobby said: ‘Steve needed a procedure which had been pre-arranged to remove some kidney stones. After the operation he was in a bit of pain and he’d also had a chest infection.

‘Even though they say he can’t express anything, when he is uncomfortable he can frown and he was trying to get this word out, which sounded like the F-word. He said it a few times in the first six months but this was the first time in more than a year.

‘It might not have been good for him to be in pain, but it showed that he is able to give a response. The damaged cells in his brain need to start repairing themselves and then hopefully he will be able to communicate.

‘I’m sure he’s fighting inside and one day he will be back on his feet, but in the meantime we just want him to show responses. The main thing is he hasn’t got any worse and we hope and pray he will recover.’

9396853 Tragedy of Covid twins who moved Kate Garraway to tears: DJ Steve Laviniere, 57, suffered organ failure and brain inflammation and is still in hospital a year on - while his brother Bobby, diagnosed at the same time, recovered in weeks

Twin brothers Bobby (left) and Steve Laviniere have an unspoken bond (Bobby & Steve/@bobbyandsteveUK)

Twin of one of Britain's longest-running Covid patients says 'love is most powerful medicine' pics: Bobby&Steve/Facebook/@bobbyandsteveUK

DJs Bobby and Steve Laviniere in Madrid before they both caught Covid (Picture: Bobby & Steve/@bobbyandsteveUK)

The twins, whose DJ act is called Bobby & Steve from Groove Odyssey, began to show symptoms after playing a gig in Madrid.

They have since been supported by a massive showing of support from the dance music circuit, including world-leading names such as Trevor Nelson, Barbara Tucker and David Morales.

Bobby, from Redbridge, east London, believes his twin will eventually make a full-time return to his marital home and the family has set up a crowdfunding appeal to support major adaptations to the house.

‘Steve is fighting away and while he’s not on the edge, we know he’s going to stay with us,’ Bobby said. ‘Every time he’s confronted with a condition besides the one he’s got, he overcomes the odds.

‘At one point they wouldn’t even put him in ICU because they said he wouldn’t make it, but he keeps winning these battles.

‘We haven’t done this all in vain. We know he is going to get a blessing and we hope and pray that it comes soon.’

9396853 Tragedy of Covid twins who moved Kate Garraway to tears: DJ Steve Laviniere, 57, suffered organ failure and brain inflammation and is still in hospital a year on - while his brother Bobby, diagnosed at the same time, recovered in weeks

Bobby (left) and Steve are popular DJs on London’s house music scene (Picture: Bobby & Steve/@bobbyandsteveUK)

Steve is thought to be the UK’s longest-running hospitalised Covid patient.

His prolonged battle with complications from the condition pre-dates that of Derek Draper, the husband of Good Morning Britain (GMB) presenter Kate Garraway.

Bobby and his wife, Sylma, have appeared on GMB to tell their family’s story and in Finding Derek, an intimate ITV documentary about long Covid presented by Garraway.

On Monday, Steve’s fight to recover will be spotlit again as his family holds a fundraising comedy gig to mark the two year anniversary.

They have already welcomed him back on home visits for a few hours at a time and are in the process of making the adaptations so he can return to Julie and recover on a full-time basis.

‘Every time Steve’s home we notice the difference,’ Bobby said.

‘Because of his brain injury, he’s prone to having spasms where his body tenses and locks up. It normally happens about three times an hour.

‘When he’s home he relaxes and it doesn’t happen at all. When the time is right we know he’ll benefit from being back home surrounded by the love of Julie and the family, which we believe is the greatest medicine of all.’

Steve’s family will support his rehabilitation through comedy with a night called Laugh for Stevie. The fundraiser is being held in London and features Curtis Walker, Ninia Benjamin, Ricky Grover and Quincy.

Tickets are available here and a GoFundMe page can be found here.

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