PLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) - The family of a Broward schoolteacher who beat COVID-19 after she spent months in the hospital expressed their gratitude to be together for the holidays.

While Christmas get togethers in 2020 look different compared to years past due to the pandemic, Stefanie Miller said she has everything she needs.

“It’s been a tough year, but there’s still a lot to be grateful for,” Miller said. “My mom, my son, my stepdaughter, the dogs, just doesn’t really matter what you eat, doesn’t matter what you drink, just being together.”

Miller’s family played it safe for the 2020 holiday season and kept the celebration small, but the simple fact that Miller is present Christmas Eve is huge.

“Sometimes, I have to stop and really think about that it was real, what I went through,” Miller said.

She was diagnosed with COVID-19 and spent months in the hospital fighting for her life earlier in 2020. For a large portion of her time at Memorial Hospital West, she was hooked up to a ventilator, which kept her alive.

“I truly think that God has been watching over Stefanie because she truly came close to dying,” Memorial Hospital West Dr. Daniel Mayer said.

“I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t go be with her,” Faye Fogielgarn, Miller’s mother, said. “I just wasn’t going to let go.”

Fogielgarn had just gotten out of the hospital herself after also contacting COVID-19. While she wasn’t allowed inside of the hospital with her daughter, Miller’s family was present throughout her treatment virtually.

After a couple of days taking the experimental drug Remdesivir, Miller began showing vast signs of improvement. Eventually, she grew strong enough to be released from Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines in May.

Following some of the darkest days of her life, Miller’s boyfriend proposed to her.

“We’ve been together over five years, but he proposed as I came out of the rehab,” Miller said.

Since then, the elementary schoolteacher has returned to work, teaching her students virtually. She has also returned to rescuing dogs through her non-profit.

While Miller has a way to go until she fully recovers from the disease, she said her faith is stronger than ever and being home for the holidays is the best present she can ask for.

“So, just the littlest of things, I say a little prayer for– because it’s a miracle,” Miller said.

Miller’s family said they are beyond grateful for the medical staff and doctors at Memorial Hospital West who helped her battle the virus.

Miller said she is looking forward to 2021 and her upcoming wedding on Valentine’s Day.

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