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Hundreds Join in Prayer Vigil for COVID-19 Patient Rodney Stepp

Indianapolis, IN

“...the Whole World in His hands,” sings Staci. “He’s got the Whole World in His hands. He’s got the Whole World in His Hands.”

April 6, 2020, hundreds gather at a prayer vigil for a man fighting for his life—award-winning musician and producer, Rodney Stepp. Best known as keyboardist for the iconic R&B group, The Spinners, his 60 plus year career has earned him respect throughout the music industry with little slowing him down...until now. In late March, while coming back from a gig, Rodney began feeling ill....

“I was a little worried about him, but I knew that he was tired, so I just let him sleep,” says Sheena. “But Monday was different. He had been sick for about a week with a very nasty cough. Then he ended up getting fever.”

That Monday, Sheena took her husband to I.U. Health North Hospital. There, Rodney tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted for care.

“I was hearing that people were getting put on a ventilator, dying,” says Sheena. “And I walked out the door and just—broke down.”

With strict visitor limitations in place, Sheena relied on text messages from the staff to get the latest on her husband. One person who provided constant updates, was their friend, and big fan of Rodney’s music, Dr. Denise Combellick.

“When I walked in, I put my hand on him, he was burning with fever,” says Dr. Combellick. “By that time, he was intubated. But he could hear me, and he would squeeze my hand and I could talk to him.”

Rodney’s health declined quickly and by Friday that week, he was in the ICU in a medically induced coma. His lungs were operating at only 25%.

“I was devasted,” says Sheena. “Rodney is, and has been the love of my life for a little over 21 years. What am I going to do without him?”

Family, friends, and fans around the world offered up prayers. Over the next week, Rodney suffered renal failure, a clotting issue, and developed a GI bleed that required a blood transfusion.

“He really had every complication that you can imagine,” says Dr. Combellick. “I shared with the group that I was really concerned he was not going to survive.”

“I recorded a prayer for him,” says Sheena. “I asked God to just continue to touch him from his head to his toes and let him know that he needed to fight, that he was loved, and everyone was praying for him.”

Sheena sent the prayer to Dr. Combellick, who played it back for Rodney. It was then she got an idea.

“One of the doctors told Denise, ‘Don’t give up on him just yet. So, if you’re going to do anything, you do it—you need to do it now.’”

Though unsure if it would make the difference, Dr. Combellick was willing to give prayer a chance.

“I think I said, ‘I don’t believe in miracles, but if you want to show me one, I’m here. I’ll accept a miracle on this.’” said Dr. Combellick.

On the evening of April 6th, the vigil began with prayer and singing.

“God is in this place,” sang Stacy. “One more time everybody....”

“Nurses from all over the hospital came down and came out to the prayer vigil,” says Dr. Combellick. “People placed the flags, wrote a prayer and, there were, I don’t know, hundreds of flags. The cars completely wrapped around the hospital and there was a line that couldn’t get into the parking lot,” says Dr. Combellick.

“I believed that God was going to answer my prayer,” says Sheena. “And, do you know why? Because I never felt in my heart that I was going to lose him. Having friends and family send you scriptures and pray for you, and with you, there was just no way.”

On April 12th, Easter Sunday, Rodney was brought out of his coma, taken off the ventilator and breathing fully on his own.

“When I first woke up,” says Rodney, “I was very weak, very weak, and I knew it was going to be a struggle, but that was still motivation for me to try to go home. I wanted to go home.”

“Talking to Rodney for the first time when he got off the ventilator, I did start crying,” says Sheena. “Three things he said, ‘I love you. Are you okay, and is the dog okay?’”

“My last test was to walk the entire 5th floor,” says Rodney. “I was on the 5th floor and I walked that 5th floor and man, I had them trying to keep up with me!” After 30 days in the hospital, Rodney was wheeled out to cheers from his friends, family and medical staff. Dubbed, ‘The Miracle Patient’, Rodney spent the next 10 days in rehab before finally going home.

“I would get off at each elevator on each floor and there would just be lines of people,” says Rodney, “clapping and cheering and wishing me well.”

Though Rodney’s body and kidneys are weaker, he’s focusing on the most important thing—that he’s alive. He’s even using his experience with COVID as the inspiration for a Gospel EP titled ‘C One Nine’.

“The only thing he did not do was die,” says Dr. Combellick, “He’s our miracle. You know, we declared a miracle.”

“I know I wouldn’t be here without the power of prayer,” says Rodney. “God was listening, and the power of prayer is just—it is, it’s so powerful.”

“Stay, stay close to God,” says Sheena. “Pray, He hears, and He will come through.”

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