Legendary Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton is fighting for her life as she battles a rare form of pneumonia, according to her children.
McKenna Kelley, one of Mary Lou Retton’s four daughters, issued a plea for help Tuesday and shared that her mom was in the midst of a health crisis. The message came through a link to a crowdfunding site where Retton’s family asked for prayer and for financial help.
“My amazing mom, Mary Lou, has a very rare form of pneumonia and is fighting for her life. She is not able to breathe on her own. She’s been in the ICU for over a week now,” the page reads.
Kelley added that she wouldn’t disclose further details, but said that Mary Lou is not insured.
“We ask that if you could help in any way, that 1) you PRAY! and 2) if you could help us with finances for the hospital bill,” Kelley wrote. “ANYTHING, absolutely anything, would be so helpful for my family and my mom.”
At press time, nearly $170,000 of the $50,000 goal had been raised, with more than 3,600 fans contributing to the cause.
Mary Lou Retton, 55, is arguably one of the most beloved athletes in American history.
In 1984, at only 16-years-old, Retton became the first American woman to win the all-around gold medal and was the most awarded athlete at that year’s Olympics held in Los Angeles.
Mary Lou underwent knee surgery weeks before the Olympic Games yet still landed perfect scores on the vault and her floor routine. She took home the all-around gold medal with just 0.05 points to spare.
Despite having undergone knee surgery just weeks before the Games, she recorded perfect 10s on the floor and vault to edge out Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo by 0.05 points. The victory led Retton to be named Sports Illustrated’s “Sportswoman of the Year.”
She continued to compete, winning her third American Cup all-around title before retiring from gymnastics in 1986.
The years that followed brought Mary Lou Retton to the big and small screens with cameos in television shows and movies as well as serving as a commentator. In 2018, Mary Lou competed on “Dancing With The Stars” alongside professional dancer Sasha Faber and was eliminated in 9th place.
To donate to Mary Lou Retton’s fight, click HERE.