Gary Shirley is asking fans for support after his mother was diagnosed with coronavirus last week.
Gary, 33, has starred on Teen Mom and Teen Mom OG for more than 10 years. He first appeared on 16 & Pregnant with Amber Portwood, when she was pregnant with the couple’s daughter, Leah.
The pair has since separated and Gary is now married to Kristina (Anderson) Shirley, with whom he shares daughter Emilee.
The Shirleys have been taking quarantine very seriously
Gary made the announcement about his mother’s diagnosis on his Instagram page yesterday.
Gary said that the Shirley family has been very vigilant about social distancing because Emilee has an immune disorder. They’ve avoided contact with others, including contact with extended family.
“We haven’t hugged her in about 3 months,” Gary said of his mom, “and we haven’t had her over inside our home for about 3 months.”
Nevertheless, Gary’s mother, Carol Zizak, came down with COVID-19. Gary believes that she was likely exposed to the virus through her work at an assisted living facility.
Gary and Kristina are doing what they can to help, but it’s been difficult. They’ve been delivering food to Carol and her partner, Jody Patterson (who appeared on the show when he underwent a DNA test confirming that he is not Gary’s biological father), for several weeks, but they have had to cut back out of concern for Emilee.
To make matters worse, Jody is now showing symptoms of the illness. He hasn’t been tested, but Gary noted that he believes that Jody’s symptoms are caused by coronavirus.
View this post on Instagram
This Mother’s Day is a little hard because my mother is very sick. A week ago she was diagnosed with Covid-19. Her line of work put her at a higher risk since she was working in activities and house keeping at an assisted living facility. My wife and I have been trying to help by dropping off food (curbside) so she could focus on getting rest. We haven’t hugged her in about 3 months & we haven’t had her over inside our home for about 3 months. This has been extremely hard for all of us. Our youngest daughter has an immunodeficiency disorder where she gets sick so easily so we have stayed home and took this quarantine very seriously. We have had to go to store a few times (kid free of course) however, I knew my mother would be exposed at some point due to her job which was very worrisome itself. Now, with a confirmed case of covid-19 we are worried more and limited on what we can do to help. She has good days and of course bad days like today. Her and Jody live together and I knew it would only be a matter of time before he would get it, and of course…. I believe he has it now. He has the symptoms, but hasn’t had the test yet. So I will be dropping off breakfast in the morning on the porch and wishing her a Happy Mother’s Day while praying for her. All prayers are welcomed and much appreciated. Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mothers and a BIG Happy Mother’s Day to my amazing wife. @kristina_shirley3
Carol’s prognosis is uncertain
Fortunately, Carol has not needed to be hospitalized yet, but Gary noted that she is “very sick.” She has lost her appetite and sense of taste and has been trying to rest at home. Gary explained that this Mother’s Day was particularly difficult for his family since they had to deal with his mother’s illness and the family’s separation.
To try to brighten Jody and Carol’s Mother’s Day, Gary dropped off homemade brunch on their porch. He also gave Mother’s Day shoutouts to Carol and his wife, Kristina, on Instagram.
Fans sent the Shirley family their well-wishes through Instagram. “You’re a good dude, Gary,” wrote one user, “keep us posted on your mom and Jody.”
“Prayers for your mom,” said another fan, “I know it’s hard not being able to go help her.”
Teen Mom OG airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on MTV.