Frontline NHS family all make COVID-19 recovery

The family of three are urging people not to take the virus lightly

Esmie, Alfred and Aryen Roxas

A surgical nurse at King’s College Hospital, who has recovered from COVID-19, along with her mother and father, is warning others not to take the risk of catching the virus lightly.

Aryen Roxas, 22, from Camberwell, developed a fever and a cough in March 2020, and began self-isolating at home, shortly afterwards testing positive for COVID-19. Despite taking every precaution possible in the two bedroom flat she shares with her parents, her mother and father, who also work at King’s College Hospital, also caught COVID-19.

Ayren explained: “It was a truly horrible experience, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I’m a fit and healthy 22-year-old, but I became really ill. I had severe aches and pains, a terrible sore throat and struggled to sleep. But the worst thing was worrying about my mum and dad. My mum has diabetes, and the last thing I wanted was to make her sick as well as me.

“I barely left my bedroom; my mum and dad left my meals outside my door, and when I did need to go to the bathroom, I sterilised everything I touched. I felt like a prisoner, but I wanted to keep my family as safe as possible.” Unfortunately, just as Aryen began to recover from COVID-19, her mother started to show symptoms of the virus.

Aryen’s mother, Esmie Roxas, 49, a sister at King’s College Hospital, said: “It was a terrifying time. The three of us were confined in our flat, bracing ourselves for the virus. My symptoms were very different to Aryen. I had an awful headache and I could barely eat, which made my diabetes much, much worse. Aryen called paramedics out to check me over at one point, as my chest pains were so severe.

“Looking back on it, it felt like we came to the brink of death. I feel blessed that we are all alive now. Even though the lockdown is easing, we’re still being as careful as we possibly can. It scares me so much when I see people behaving as though there’s nothing to be afraid of. COVID-19 is incredibly dangerous.”

Aryen’s father, Arnold Roxas, a healthcare assistant at King’s College Hospital, also developed COVID-19 and was admitted to the Trust for two days, before his condition began to improve.
Once she had made a full recovery, Aryen returned to work where she was redeployed to work on a COVID-19 ward. Aryen said: “I had no idea what to expect: I was anxious about taking on a role that could expose my family to the virus all over again. But I’d cared for both my mum and dad and helped them overcome COVID-19, and it was time for me to do the same for my patients.

“Seeing more people recover from the virus has been extremely rewarding, but it has been devastating to see how many patients have become severely ill as a result of COVID-19. As more public places are re-opening, I’d urge everyone to keep following the government guidelines to stay safe – this virus has already caused so much heartbreak, please don’t take it lightly.”


For further information please contact:
Elizabeth Mills
Senior Press Officer
elizabeth.mills2@nhs.net
Extension: +44 (0)20 3299 5935

Notes to editors

1. King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, training over 900 dentists, 750 doctors and 300 nurses every year. The Trust is recognized internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac, haemato-oncology, stroke and major trauma. On 1 October 2013, King’s took over the running of the Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley and Orpington Hospital, as well as some services at Beckenham Beacon and Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup. The new enlarged organisation has over 10,500 staff and provides over 1 million patient contacts a year. 9,000 babies are delivered by our hospitals each year, and over 750 patients come to our Emergency Departments every day. For more information, please visit the website. You can also support the work of King’s College Hospital at supportkings.org.uk

2. King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering collaboration between King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts. We work collectively to make sure that the lessons from research are used more swiftly, effectively and systematically to provide better and more joined up physical and mental health care for people.
Our partnership brings together:

  • three of the UK’s leading NHS Foundation Trusts
  • a world-leading university for health research and education
  • nearly 4.3 million patient contacts
  • more than 43,000 NHS and university staff
  • 31,000 students
  • a combined annual turnover of more than £3.7 billion.
    http://www.kingshealthpartners.org @kingshealth

3. At King’s College Hospital we fundraise for the best in treatment, research and health education, leading-edge equipment and improving well-being in our communities. By uniting doctors, nurses, researchers and academics with our supporters and volunteers we can provide the best patient care that goes above and beyond. Find out more and support us at supportkings.org.uk