WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- Friends and supporters held a heartwarming homecoming event to congratulate a woman who beat COVID-19.
Veronica McAleer, 76, was supposed to be the Grand Marshall for the Wilmington Saint Patrick's Day Parade. But not only was the parade canceled, she also tested positive for the coronavirus.
"It was devastating but I knew she was strong because she's 76 and she walks at least every day at least five miles," said friend Nora Smith.
Known throughout the community as Miss Veronica, she has taught Irish dance for more than 50 years. Students say her laugh is infectious and describe her as kind and gentle.
"She works hard for us and cares a lot, like so much," said student Brigid Flanagan.
Student Katie Doran said, "I couldn't imagine dancing anywhere else because she makes it sort of like a family."
After two weeks in the Wilmington Hospital, McAleer beat the disease and was discharged on Tuesday.
Friends and students decided to throw her a socially distant welcome home party with about 20 cars filled with supporters in attendance.
"I think she's going to cry probably," said Doran. "She's going to be really happy, she's not going to believe it."
"She's like a second mom to me and she's beat a lot of things in her life, breast cancer, broken hips but this she wasn't sure she could beat," said friend Eileen Paulson.
After the surprise event, McAleer said she never imagined she would receive that kind of homecoming.
"I feel like jumping up in the sky. I am so excited that I beat it because I honestly didn't think I was going to," said McAleer.
McAleer said she is looking forward to FaceTiming her sisters and will be heading to Disney World for Christmas.
Heartwarming homecoming for Delaware dance teacher who beat coronavirus