For the past four years, a common heart condition left Trevor Annon with shortness of breath, muting his voice so much so, he no longer had the stamina and lung capacity to sing — one of his greatest joys in life.

His symptoms were manageable. That is, until he contracted a mild case of COVID-19. “It brought me to my knees,” he says.

COVID-19 can have a devastating effect on our respiratory and nervous systems, as well as muscles — like the heart — and other organs. Some patients are bedridden for weeks, and many survivors find it difficult to return to daily life.

For Trevor, walking, standing or simply having a conversation soon became impossible. But after working with a team at Sunnybrook’s St. John’s Rehab, Trevor rebuilt his strength, endurance and independence. Best of all: he found his voice.

“There’s more to do to improve my health but I will smile, and I will never give up,” he says.

St. John’s Rehab is one of the few rehabilitation centres in Canada that has taken an active role in leading rehabilitation efforts for patients after experiencing COVID-19. But there is still much to learn.

With donor support, St. John’s Rehab launched a comprehensive study that will provide in-depth insight into the challenges, successes, facilitators and barriers to supporting patients along their journey beyond COVID-19. Based on that information, we will develop a set of guidelines to help health-care providers across Canada and the world care for more patients like Trevor, so they can get back to what they love most.

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