Since Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway’s beloved husband Derek Draper was admitted to hospital in late March 2020, suffering from Covid-19, the immense bravery and courage she has shown has been truly awe-inspiring.
We take a look at Kate and husband Derek's heartbreaking experience so far including Kate's documentary and book.
Kate gives an update on Derek's condition
During her appearance on Piers Morgan's life stories, Kate gave a devastating update on Derek's condition after battling covid, sharing how the illness has affected him all over his body.
"His digestive system, his liver, his kidneys, his heart, his nervous system. We're pretty sure that the inflammation did pass through the brain.
"He still can't communicate; he still has issues with mobility.
"Fundamentally, he's in a terrible state. Look, he's alive."
Opening up more about how his speech has been affected by the illness, she shared how hard it was for him to even say the words 'hello' and 'goodbye' in conversations.
"It's moments like that that make you realise that he is in there," she said.
"And we've had others - he will turn to me and say, 'I love you.'
"He's fought so hard to stay in this world and I'm not giving up on him ever. He will have moments of clarity and it's like he disappears again."
Derek's return home
Derek, 53, returned to his family's North London home by ambulance this week after medical experts agreed his recovery would be helped by being around his wife and children.
While Derek has been taken off hospital machines, the fight isn't over yet and his family home has been adapted so that he can still continue to receive round-the-clock care.
Kate's Good Morning Britain co-host Ben Shephard revealed the news Derek would be returning with co-host Ranvir Singh.
He said: 'We are all smiling this morning, aren’t we? The news that he has been able to travel home and is living at home now with Kate, Darcey and Bill.
'Honestly this means an awful lot to us because we’ve shared this with Kate personally, but when we come in and see the messages from you guys and how pleased you are.
'It’s the first step in a very, very long journey for Derek and Kate and for the family trying to work out how it’s going to unfold. There is 24 hour care for him at home.'
Kate also appeared on Good Morning Britain to confirm the amazing news.
“Well, as you know, both of you, I think anybody whose husband or loved one has been in hospital for a long time, what you want is for them to be home. That’s what you’re absolutely campaigning and wanting to happen.
“It’s been a lot of discussions, even before Christmas about what is the best way to go, because it’s kind of balancing… it’s a very unique situation, Derek’s situation. And whilst the doctors have made it very clear they wouldn’t allow him home if there was any risk to his health – I did say, ‘I’m not pushing you into something that’s not right?’ and [the doctor] said, ‘Kate, you can’t push me’ – but it was really looking at his cognition, looking at his consciousness and trying to think about what will be the best way to improve that.
“You saw in the documentary, there have been improvements in autumn, he’s using more words, and there are more things that he can do now. He’s got some more movement in his hands, he can show emotion. But it felt as though everything had stalled medically and if anything was going slightly back. Obviously within the very necessary Covid restrictions that are in place, I couldn’t visit, family couldn’t visit, even some of the therapeutic things we would want to do to help him move forward couldn’t happen, so taking all that into account, they said, ‘Right let’s give this a go, let’s get him home safely.’ So it does feel a little bit like the hospital has come home with me at the moment, as we’ve got all sorts of professional people making sure everything is safe and then see how being in the family environment could help.”
She said: “It’s been amazing, it’s been amazing.”
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Kate's coronavirus documentary
In a new intimate and deeply personal film with ITV, Kate allowed cameras to document her story as her family adjusts to a new way of life.
The film joins Kate and her family in July 2020 and brings viewers up to date with the film ending in March 2021.
Coming to terms with a life very different from just 12 months ago and with never-before-seen access into the real story behind the headlines, ITV share this emotional journey that has gripped the hearts of the nation.
While grateful for the outpouring of sympathy towards her own situation, Kate knows she is simply going through what thousands of other families are all suffering too. And over the course of the documentary will meet those who have also been affected by coronavirus, from community nurse Orli, who after a year is still experiencing life-changing symptoms of Long-Covid, and Julie whose husband Steve has still not regained consciousness after contracting the disease.
Kate shared heartbreaking new images of Derek in hospital in a trailer for the documentary.
Watch the documentary Kate Garraway: Finding Derek now.
Derek Draper's fight with coronavirus
The virus attacked Derek’s vital organs, rampaging through his body ‘from head to toe’, and on six separate occasions, Kate was informed that her husband was unlikely to survive.
To the amazement of his doctors, though, Derek pulled through. Although testing clear of Covid in early June 2020, Derek remained in a coma until he sporadically started to open his eyes.
While the fight with the virus has been won, it has wreaked extraordinary damage on his body and it’s not known if he will recover. Yet Kate remains largely upbeat.
“I have to be positive,” she said speaking recently. “Derek is still here and that in itself is a miracle. One of his wonderful doctors said to me that he’s the worst affected person he’s had to treat who has lived. But where there’s life, there’s hope.”
Although she has admittedly had periods of being ‘gripped by enormous fear – times when I’ve felt like I’m losing it’, her absolute priority from day one of this horrendous journey of heartbreak and uncertainty has been staying strong for her and Derek’s two children, daughter Darcey and son Billy.
“My job is to keep life safe for the children,” she has said. “The last thing Derek said to me before he was taken away in the ambulance was, ‘Go back inside and make them feel safe’. Whatever happens to Derek, they have to feel like they have a future and a world. Darcy and Billy have effectively lost their father for now. He’s not a presence in their lives in the way he should be.”
While Kate’s been staying strong for the children, in addition to researching as much as is possible about Covid in order to help Derek, she has had the stalwart support of loved ones - via social media during lockdown and in person since restrictions began to ease.
For Billy’s 11th birthday, both sets of grandparents – Granny and Papa (Kate’s mum and dad) and Grandma and Grandpa (Derek’s) - paid separate visits to celebrate with their grandson and give support to Kate and Darcey. Kate’s friends also threw a party for him with Mylene Klass helping her to organise an ‘I’m a Celebrity’-themed party for the birthday boy and a few of his pals. DJ Roman Kemp and his Spandau Ballet dad, Martin, later arrived with an ‘extraordinary’ cake. Kate’s neighbours in north London have also ‘been there’ for her and the kids.
“They’ve dropped off food and given a helping hand to make life feel a bit more normal for Darcey and Billy,” she has said.
In addition, TV’s ‘Judge’ Robert Rinder, who lives close-by, has also proved to be something of a neighbour-in-shining armour.
“He texted me and said, ‘I live really near to you – what can I do?’ ” Kate has revealed. “Darcy was making a photo wall and we didn’t have any Blu-Tac and he was like, “OK!” So, we now have a system. I’ll say to him that we need butter and milk, he’ll send back a rainbow and it’ll be on its way.”
Kate’s Good Morning Britain colleagues have been – and continue to be – a constant source of strength. In fact, she called former host Piers Morgan a few weeks into the nightmare so he could give her a pep talk.
“I felt like I was losing it,” she said. “Piers was just what I needed. ‘Come on, Garraway,’ he urged. ‘You’re a journalist and this is the story of your life!’ He said what I had to do was focus on Derek. Fight for him and gather all the information about the virus that I could. Piers’ words forced me into the professional, breaking-news mindset you adopt when you’re on air and something awful happens. You think about the story rather than dwell on your emotions. I have had incredible support from my GMB family – and that has continued now I’m back at work. It was time for me to come back. Derek’s doctors told me I couldn’t continue putting my life on hold. I can hear Derek’s voice chastising me for not having come back before.”
Kate says she’s also found the public’s reaction immensely comforting.
“All the messages of hope and support have been very important to me. I’m so grateful for them. You can feel consumed by your own terror and so it’s a lovely that people are reaching out, and offering love and hope. Even those who have lost their loved-ones to this evil virus. So many are dealing with sadness, grief and loss – whether from Covid or something else. We all just have to get on with it and try and stay positive. As for Darcey, Billy and me, our only wish is for Derek to come home and to see him sitting in his favourite chair in the garden, enjoying the things we’ve grown for him.”
Kate Garraway's book
Along with the documentary, Kate is releasing an intimate book on her family's experience, called The Power of Hope.
The Good Morning Britain host said: "Whilst my experience of Covid is an extreme/extraordinary one, I am only too aware that this virus has impacted every single one of us. We are all going through this, to a greater or lesser degree.
"By telling the story of Derek's illness and how it has altered our lives, I hope to be able to reach out to others who are suffering. If writing about my experience of facing fear, coping day to day with an uncertain future and finding strength for the sake of my kids can in some way help another who is feeling lost or in despair, it will mean a lot."
The Power Of Hope is out on the 29th of April.