In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a story of unwavering courage, medical innovation, and a promise that defied the odds emerged in the heart of Chicago. ESPN’s E60 embarked on a mission to document the remarkable journey of Mayra Ramirez, a 28-year-old paralegal and avid runner, whose life was forever altered by the virus that swept across the world in 2020. But the story took an unexpected turn that involved one of America’s best-known journalists.
Mayra debuts Sunday, Nov. 12, at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, available immediately after the initial airing for on-demand streaming on ESPN+.
In the fall of 2020, Mayra Ramirez’s remarkable journey unfolded as she became the first person in the United States to receive a groundbreaking experimental double lung transplant, her last hope when COVID-19 brought her to the brink of death.
Her inspiring story not only symbolizes resilience but also served as a blueprint for saving nearly 500 lives, rekindling hope in those who had lost it. Renowned journalist, Jorge Ramos of Univision, who is the reporter and narrator for the film, documented Mayra’s quest to run a 5K with her transplanted lungs in an effort to inspire others.
What transpired behind the scenes was nothing short of astonishing. Unbeknownst to Ramos and the entire production team, Ramirez was driven by an opportunity to meet one of her idols in person. Their first meeting over Zoom in September 2020 led to a heartfelt promise, one that symbolized Ramirez’s determination and will to survive. The promise was simple but profound: to run together on Chicago’s famous lakefront trail.
Mayra showcases the indomitable spirit of Ramirez, the groundbreaking medical advances in the fight against COVID-19, and the unexpected bond that formed between Ramirez and Ramos.
In addition to Ramirez and Ramos, others interviewed in the program include:
Nohemi Romero – Mayra’s Mother
George Marinez – Mayra’s boyfriend
Dr Ankit Bharat – Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Northwestern Medicine
Dr. Rade Tomic – Pulmonologist- Northwestern Medicine
Dr. Rafael Garza-Castillon- Thoracic Surgeon
Jenny Nowatzke – Media Relations at Northwestern Medicine
Mayra was directed by Daniel Lindberg and produced by Adry Rodriguez. The program was produced in collaboration with Univision.
After the initial airing, the program will be available on ESPN+. A Spanish-language version of Mayra will air on ESPN Deportes in the near future.