Mary Lou Retton is an American hero, and right now, that hero needs America's help.

Retton, who is regarded as one of the best gymnasts of all-time, is suffering from a rare form of pneumonia, a sickness that landed her in intensive care last week. Though it was reported that she was making progress in her recovery, she recently suffered a setback, and remains in an ICU ward in Texas.

We have the latest updates on her condition, and how you can help this 1984 U.S. Olympic hero.

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Family of Mary Lou Retton Organizes Fundraisers as Hero Battles Pneumonia

A series of stories from Yahoo! and other outlets shared updates on the condition of Mary Lou Retton, a retired American gymnast who won the individual all-around gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

As of October 11th, Retton had been in the hospital for over a week, as she battled a very rare form of pneumonia. At the time, her daughter, McKenna Lane Kelley, said that her mother was not able to breathe on her own.

Olympic Torch Relay X Retton-Kelley
Getty Images

On October 14th, a positive update was published, saying that Retton had made "remarkable progress" in her recovery over the past few days. Her breathing had grown stronger, and she was less reliant on machines to help her maintain her breath, according to a post on Instagram.

On Thursday, October 19th, however, Retton's battle took another turn for the worst. Another one of her daughters, Shayla Kelley Schrepfer, posted on Instagram that her mother had suffered a "scary setback" earlier in the week, but that she had had a better day the following day, on Wednesday, the 18th.

Getty Images

That is the latest information that we've received on her condition, so now, let's get to the other important information: how we can help her. Retton is uninsured, so her family is paying for her extended stay in the ICU out of their own pockets. They set up a fundraising page, with a goal of $50,000, to help supplement the cost of medical bills.

As of October 20th at 12:19PM, they've raised $459,304.


We throw the adjective heroic around quite a bit in the sports world, but few American athletes have embodied that trait more than Retton. She competed with Team USA in the '84 games five weeks removed from a major knee surgery. Retton trailed Ecaterina Szabo of Romania by 0.15 points with two events remaining in the individual event, and needed two consecutive 10's (a perfect score) in order to have a chance to surpass Szabo and win the gold.

She began by doing this:

Then, she did this:

For my money, it's one of the more remarkable individual performances in sports history. She will forever be known as one of America's most important sporting heroes, as she became the first female gymnast from outside Eastern Europe to win the individual all-around gold.

Keep her in your thoughts over the next few weeks. She needs her country's support now more than ever.

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