Blind triplets who survived COVID-19 are warning people of the virus’ devastating impact

ARLINGTON, VA — 20-year old Leo, Nick, and Steven Cantos tested positive for COVID-19 last April.

Even before they got infected, their universities were shut down last March. The Cantos triplets — who suffer from a potentially blinding eye disorder — decided to relocate temporarily away from home, and that kept their Fil-Am father, Ollie Cantos, who also has the same eye condition, and their immuno-compromised grandmother safe from the virus.

“Out of love for her and in abundance of caution, they decided to relocate elsewhere temporarily and that’s where they ended up infected, there were 15 people living in that house.”

“Even though my sons are 20 years old and relatively young — because of how we have seen the virus impact other people who are their age, there was no guarantee they could make it successfully.”

But Ollie’s adopted triplets did survive COVID-19.

Leo, who went through the worst symptoms among the triplets, said he did everything to stay alive, including breathing exercises to keep himself away from ventilators.

“That’s why I did the exercises because I didn’t want to die, there’s so many things I wanna experience, I haven’t had a girlfriend yet,” said Leo.

But as many people took advantage of the good weather and enjoyed the outdoors over the weekend – the triplet survivors have these warnings as cities and states around the U.S. slowly reopen.

“You don’t want this you really don’t want this, it’s not the flu, it’s not a conspiracy but an actual virus we don’t even know how to treat yet, you don’t want this, you don’t want any of your families to have this because people do and have died from it,” said Nick.

“You don’t want the virus, it’s not a fun thing to get, I would say that I’m gonna be careful, I’m gonna go out, I’m gonna follow the guidelines, I’m still gonna wear the mask,” said Steven.

According to the CDC — 90% of COVID 19 patients have underlying conditions – such as people with disabilities like the Cantos family.

Olllie said social distancing for the blind is an extra challenge.

“When people see us in public, they may want to walk up to us and try to help us, but under the current circumstances that’s the last thing should happen, because they could either become infected or they can infect us.”

As a member of the National Board of RespectAbility, Ollie is also raising awareness that most people with disabilities are on food stamps – and need help getting their food delivered at home for their own safety and protection from the coronavirus.

“There are 20 states modifying their programs to allow SNAP recipients to have food delivered at home — 11 million people with disabilities are on SNAP in the U.S.”

Ollie said it would also help if neighbors of persons with disabilities take the time to reach out and help, while still observing safety measures amid the pandemic.

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