PHOENIX — The fight to survive COVID-19 is happening on two fronts for one Valley family. It's been a horrific few months for Myrah Aiello but she is the definition of perseverance.
“Hi guys, how are you, welcome back,” Myrah called out to her customers today. “Here you go guys, you need some plates.”
Along with her husband Joe, they’ve owned and operated Aiello’s Italian Restaurant, Charr, and Isa’s Pizza off Seventh Street and Thunderbird for years. But like so many others, when the pandemic hit, business took a hit too.
“It has been awful, you know we had to close the restaurants,” said Myrah.
They were closed off and on for two months, swapping to a take out only strategy, then a devastating diagnosis took them by surprise. Both Myrah and Joe contracted the coronavirus.
“All I want to do is be by his side and you can’t see him and it’s going to probably be a very long time,” said Myrah from inside Aiello’s Friday.
While Myrah recovered, Joe went downhill quickly. He’s been on a ventilator for weeks.
Her focus remains on him every moment but she’s also focused on saving their life long dream of owning a restaurant.
“I can’t give up for him, he can’t give up for me, my kids too, I mean we just have to keep pushing through you know,” said Myrah.
She says juggling the two can be overwhelming. Her community is coming out in force to make sure they do their part. Cards and paper hearts with written messages now cover the front of the restaurant.
“The emails, the letters, the Facebook messages, the GoFundMe, I mean God I didn’t know we knew that many people, it’s absolutely amazing,” said Myrah.
Even more amazing, Joe is getting a little better, and was able to speak to his family for the first time over FaceTime in months.
“It was just so good and he said it’s so good to hear your voice, oh we all started crying,” said Myrah.
Small victories that keep her going. Determined to survive just as Joe is. Embodying the unbreakable spirit it takes.
“I really have to, I mean this is everything, this is all we know all we have,” said Myrah.