CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — While more than 1,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Nueces County, the stories of those who have survived the virus keep coming to light.
One local comedian is among those survivors.
Steve Espinoza is a popular local comedian who has been a part of comedy scene in the Coastal Bend since 2006.
"The last thing I remember is driving myself, walking into minor emergency clinic," Espinoza recalls about his bout with COVID-19.
That was on Aug. 8, when Espinoza says he started feeling dizzy and his oxygen levels dropped significantly. Things only got worse as doctors diagnosed him with COVID-19 pneumonia in both his lungs.
"They had to induce me into a coma so I was in the ICU for probably over a month and a half," he said.
By his side, his wife Lorrie prayed for him to wake up and also dealing with other obstacles.
"That's when I was notified by my boss that I was being laid off," said Lorrie Espinoza.
Back at Sal's Bronx Pizza where Espinoza does most of his stand-up comedy, his friends were worried and wanted to help.
"We were able to put together a benefit show and raise almost $700 for him," said local comedian John Roman.
Almost 100 people showed their support for Espinoza, hoping to make a difference and repay him for all of his acts of kindness.
"I just knew that Steve's family could use the help and Steve has always been there for us," Roman said.
Then, Lorrie's prayers were answered when Espinoza woke up form his coma on Sept. 16.
Espinoza says he didn't know how much time had passed but he knew he couldn't talk or walk.
"It was frustrating and there were a lot of times that I thought I won't be able to do this again," he said.
Espinoza pushed himself during his time at the PAM Rehabilitation Center and says he completed the six-day in-patient rehab.
"I was just very determined to get home and be with my family again and get back on stage and make people laugh," said Espinoza.
He was able to hit the stage a few days after being released from the hospital.
He will present a free comeback comedy show on Nov. 19 at Sal's Bronx Pizza, 5922 Yorktown Blvd.