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’It’s been quite a ride’: Lynchburg pastor, worship leader wins battle against coronavirus

Charles Billingsley leads worship, is a teaching pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church

LYNCHBURG, Va. – “Well I feel much better. It’s been quite a ride,” Charles Billingsley said.

It’s a ride Billingsley said he’s glad is over. He said he’s lucky to be alive.

“Man, Magdala compared to where I was, I can handle this no problem,” Billingsley said.

Billingsley is a teaching pastor and leads worship at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg.

At the end of March, he started having COVID-19 symptoms and was diagnosed by doctors on April 1.

Charles Billingsley says he’s grateful to be alive and tell his story after surviving the coronavirus.
Charles Billingsley says he’s grateful to be alive and tell his story after surviving the coronavirus. (WSLS)

Suffering for days with body aches and high fevers, Billingsley said the worst came seven to nine days after his symptoms.

“It’s a strange way to describe it. It’s like a dry, dryness in your throat and your nose. And you almost feel the dryness in your lungs. It’s not like normal pneumonia,” Billingsley said

Billingsley spent about three days in the hospital and luckily, was never put on a ventilator.

“The most telling moment for me was when my doctor told me if I had not been in half decent shape, I probably would be dead by now,” Billingsley said

Grateful to be a survivor. Doctors told him he’s no longer contagious.

On Monday, test results came back negative, twice.

Now he’s ready to jump back into doing what he loves, singing.

“The main thing is just getting my voice back. It’s still pretty weak. But I’m getting in there and I plan to jump in pretty quick,” Billingsley said

Billingsley said it’s miraculous that everyone in his family tested negative for the virus.