APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- It was a cheerful farewell that nearly didn't happen.
Randy Smith of Apple Valley was one of 10 family members who contracted the novel coronavirus at a backyard barbecue in Fontana -- and was so close to death that his wife was told by doctors to say her goodbyes.
Now Smith is heading home after three months in the hospital.
"Thank God," he said. "It was life and death, and I made it out this side."
It's been a long road to get here. Smith had a litany of problems when he was diagnosed in June.
"I had collapsed lungs, pneumonia," he recalled. "I had a stroke."
Dr. Nicole Hanrahan, medical director of Encompass Health Rehab hospital of Murrieta, added that Smith also developed "acute respiratory failure, required two chest tubes and the help of a tracheostomy for breathing."
He had to relearn how to walk, talk and eat.
When things were at their worst, the family believes that prayer saved his life.
"God did a miracle and healed me overnight," Smith said.
Now, he and the rest of his family who survived, four of whom were hospitalized, are imploring others to not follow their path.
"Wearing a mask isn't a joke," said young Riley McGuigan, one of 10 family members who contracted the coronavirus at the barbecue. "People say, 'I'm not gonna wear my mask, it's just OK I'm not gonna get COVD.' It's not a joke. You can die from this. "People are dying from it."