HARLEM, Manhattan — A Harlem resident was given a second chance at life after a severe COVID-19 diagnosis and she’s not taking it for granted.
Natasha Dyce, a social worker and resident liaison with PACT Renaissance Collaborative, is now helping renovate thousands of NYCHA apartments across Manhattan, improving the quality of life for fellow New Yorkers after a miraculous recovery from COVID-19.
“I was gasping literally for air,” Dyce said.
In March 2020, she was fighting for her life while hospitalized for 50 days with doctors saying she wasn’t going to make it.
“When I woke up the nurses were crying,” Dyce said. “It was tons of people around my bed because they were shocked. There were three other patients in my room who never woke up.”
After suffering severe symptoms and her organs failing, it was back to square one.
“Learning how to speak, how to walk, learning how to write again,” she added. “When they gave me a pen for the first time it was all scribble coming out.”
She’s now back in her neighborhood of Harlem doing her life’s work providing improved living for public housing residents and while doing it, she never forgets what her old college professor asked.
“He says, ‘Who’s actually going to go back to their community and help their community?'” she recalls.
She’s part of the team at PCR where she’s advocating for 3,000 NYCHA residents across 16 developments in Manhattan getting their apartments renovated.
AT P.S. 139 on W. 140th Street, which was converted to public housing for seniors, the transformation of the units is incredible and she can say she did it.
“Going back to that professor who said, ‘After you get your big degree, are you going to go back to your community and give back?’ I could say, ‘Yes! I did! I’m here!'” she said.
She is here… and here to stay.