Bodybuilding veteran survives coronavirus and cancer

OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — A bodybuilder who fought for his country survived cancer and the coronavirus has a message for the unvaccinated.

Since starting body building in 2019, David Clifton hasn’t even had a cold. That all changed for the retired army soldier back in February.

“I would rather go back to Iraq and fight a war before going through this again,” Clifton said.

After serving his country, father and husband David Clifton came home and searched for a passion that could help him stay healthy and work through post-traumatic stress.
That’s when he turned to bodybuilding.

Since 2019, David has been eating well, working out, and winning bodybuilding competitions along the coast.

He never thought he could get severely sick, but that changed in February when his COVID 19 symptoms started.

Clifton remembered thinking, “I’m in good shape, I’m healthy. How is this happening to me?”

One morning, his face turned blue, he coughed up blood, and had to be admitted to the hospital.

“That was tough leaving my wife, waiving to her, saying bye,” he continued.

Clifton’s COVID had led to pneumonia, sepsis, and respiratory failure. Doctors also found stage one cancer in his kidney and removed it before it worsened. After three weeks of fighting, Clifton lost almost 60 pounds.

“I was a big body builder that all my daughter’s friends at school were completely scared of… to looking like I was back in high school.”

Though he almost died from COVID, he says he was still conflicted when it came to the vaccine.

“When I was in the military, I had more vaccines than Americans probably had in their entire life. So it’s not that I didn’t believe in the medicine, I just didn’t want to go through what I went through again.”

But after months of recovery and talks with his doctor, Clifton got the vaccine Tuesday.
He’s hoping by sharing his story of how the disease ravaged his body… It will keep others from becoming a COVID statistic.

“I can tell people right now, that’s not something you want. You know, you don’t want COVID.”

Clifton is still recovering from COVID and the lasting effects its had on his lungs. He now runs his own blog called Built4Battles where he writes about his experiences.

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