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Kate Garraway has arguably experienced the year from hell – and now she and her family face an even bigger battle.
Her seriously ill husband was hospitalised in March 2020 with coronavirus and put into a medically induced coma.
Derek Draper, her partner of 16 years, spent over a year in hospital before finally being allowed home to recover.
But Good Morning Britain star Kate, 54, has now been told her hubby is unlikely to recover if there isn’t any progress two years on from catching the deadly virus that has ravaged his poorly body.
Derek continues to require special round-the-clock care as he struggles to recover from the effects of his respiratory illness, which caused him to lose eight stone in weight – and also tragically suffer kidney failure, damage to his liver and pancreas, and heart failure.
Kate has been a rock to her husband Derek during his coronavirus battle
And at one point, perhaps understandably given the terrifying ordeal he’s gone through, Derek admitted he feared he couldn’t go on as the illness took its toll.
And now doctors have warned that even though Derek has moved out of the acute phase of the virus into a chronic phase, the 53-year-old is still “very sick” and at “serious risk of dying”, admitted Kate.
Kate Garraway turned to American preachers to heal husband Derek Draper as he lay in coma
A lesser person might have crumbled under the pressure, but mum-of-two Kate has been by her husband’s side every step of what has so far proved a haunting journey.
The experienced broadcaster’s unwavering bravery and strength was truly laid bare in the heart-breaking – and equally inspiring – ITV documentary, Kate Garraway: Finding Derek.
But now the next daunting challenge lies ahead as Kate and her family try and help nurse Derek back to full health.
"I had already waited so long [for Derek to come home],” admitted Kate, reflecting on talking to a doctor about Derek’s timetable of recovery in her book, The Power Of Hope.
“How long before you know more? Not how long will it take for him to recover, because you don’t know if he can even recover, but how long before you might know more?'
Kate's husband Derek was hospitalised with Covid for over a year
Piers Morgan helped Kate Garraway cope during Derek's Covid battle with Churchill quotes
"It was a confusing question, but I knew what I meant and he seemed to as well.
"After another long pause, he looked straight at me, then away.
“'Well, Kate' – the first time he had used my name – 'I think it’s fair to say if he is still like this after two years we will know there is very little chance of him making any meaningful recovery.'
"TWO YEARS!" I screamed inside my head.
"Up until now I had been living by the minute, hours on the phone monitoring infection levels and statistics, trying to get a handle on where Derek was, wondering every time I went to sleep if he would still be alive in the morning."
Kate said the doctor added: "'Derek is still very sick, at serious risk of dying. But even if he can live, and begin to recover from the huge damage Covid has wreaked throughout his body, it’s not going to be quick.
Kate Garraway and Derek Draper's wedding in 2005
Kate Garraway told Derek likely won't recover if there isn't any progress in two years
"'Progress is now going to be measured not in minutes, hours or days but in weeks, months and years.
"'And you are going to have to bear that journey never knowing if he might ever be the person he was before, knowing he might never truly come back to you. You just have to give us time and be strong.'"
Kate added: "I sensed they were trying to wrap things up. But I couldn’t take in what they were saying. I wanted space to take it in. I didn’t want to wrap up on this level of bleakness."
Derek credited Kate for turning his life around having previously struggled with depression.
"I haven’t been depressed for years, since just before I met Kate, who has changed me for the better anyway," he told The Scotsman in 2009.
"I got rid of my depression by doing a lot of intensive therapy, taking the prescribed anti-depressants, doing yoga and finding solace in prayer, because I eventually realised I had been masking the depression for years with overwork, drinking or womanising."
Derek admitted he wanted to die during the worst of his coronavirus hell
Kate Garraway's mum rushed to hospital with broken foot and twisted ankle
Kate has faced her own mental battles and admitted in many candid interviews since Derek’s hospitalisation that the turmoil has been incredibly different to bear during – and now beyond – the hardest year of her life.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, Kate said Derek is still "devastated" by the virus.
She admitted: "He came home on April the 7th  so we're a few weeks into it now. How is he? Look, he's devastated by Covid.
"He can't really move, his communication is very minimal. There are moments where there's up, you feel you know he's in there. He has a lot of memory.
"But the accessing of it is very limited. He's a long way from the Derek Draper that you know Andrew but he's home and he's alive, he's asleep now."
Kate's husband Derek has now returned to their family home after a year in intensive care
(Image: Daily Star)
Kate and Derek have two children together – Darcey, 15, and William, 11.
Darcey was born on March 10, 2006, while William – Billy – was born on July 28, 2009.
The couple’s children sometimes feature on Kate's social media or at work events and also appeared in the documentary about their mum and dad.
Kate has praised their two kids as "extraordinary" over the last year as their dad fought for his life in hospital.
With Derek in hospital Kate has worked hard balancing her busy work schedule with looking after her children and helping them through such a testing time in their young lives.
And the family home has been specially renovated to cope with Derek’s new demanding needs, with him bed-ridden most of the time.
Kate on Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan
(Image: ITV/REX Shutterstock)
Derek was famously Kate’s biggest supporter when she competed in I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in November 2019.
He appeared on GMB with the couple’s two kids and praised his wife for her inspiring confidence as she endeared herself to a new army of fans thanks to her kindness and witty sense of humour.
Derek joked in an interview with Piers Morgan : "Genuinely she took a few bikinis with her and she said to me, ‘I’m not sure these bikinis will see the light of day’.
"I said, ‘Well please make sure they do because you look absolutely stunning’."
It’s little surprise Kate has stood by her loyal man as she tries to help him recover.
But she was left shocked when someone suggested she had the option to dump her poorly husband.
"Somebody said to me 'You are allowed to say 'this isn't what I signed up for' and get out'," admitted Kate, speaking in her heartbreaking documentary.
"And I was like, 'Oh my god.' I mean, I know they meant it weirdly kindly, as if almost giving me licence. But I said, 'I can't think that! He's in there!'"
Kate has spoken candidly about Derek's illness her new book and documentary earlier this year
Derek sadly told Kate in a tear-jerking scene that he couldn’t go on having suffered so much pain because of the disease.
But a resilient Kate, who shows her true bravery and strength in the intimate family film, does everything she can to reassure her husband of nearly 16 years that he will recover and one day leave hospital after being bed-ridden for a year.
"You don't know how to cope with it. OK. I know you feel like you’re trapped in your head and it's terrifying,” reacted Kate.
"But you’re coming home, you're coming back to your life and you will be the person, even better than you were before. You will be.
"I will find a way to make it better. I promised you that I would save you and I'm going to save you, I will find a way, but you just have to hang in there."
In the film Derek is described as having the worst Covid infection of any living patient.
Derek and Kate chatted via Facetime while he was in hospital
And speaking to William, Kate admits: "Well you know that we're hoping, aren't we, that Dad will get better and better, but when he comes home, he will probably need to be in a wheelchair. So we're trying to make it so that he can do all this.
“And if I have to give up work to care for him, then it's best to do it now, while I'm earning money. If he needs 24-hour care.
“I will be the primary carer. I have a fear of the reality of that life.
"It's a completely different dynamic to our relationship.”