KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Scientists all over the world are studying the long-term effects of COVID-19. Some people in Knoxville report they still have trouble with smelling, tasting and other effects after battling the virus.

Knoxville nurse manager and former UT baseball player Travis Exum knows how rough having coronavirus can be.

He explained, “I was still a sick guy when I got home from the hospital. I was a really sick guy. Probably for the first four or six weeks my wife had to help me get up, walk around the house. I couldn’t do much of anything myself.”

“He almost died from COVID and so this year we are taking it back and we are saying COVID is not going to rule us,” said Travis’ wife, Shannon.

Travis continues to feel the lingering effects of COVID-19.

He said, “It’s long and exhausting. Pretty much you can think of anything that you can have, I have chronic chest pain. I have got what’s called COVID fog which is hard to describe but it’s basically difficulties with thinking. Sometimes you have memory issues.”

The RN has been out of work for more than a year because of illness.

“We’re doing okay. We’re having to dip into savings that we didn’t think we’d have to but we’re okay,” said Travis.

Saturday, Team COVID Long Haulers and their supporters gathered at the Cove at Concord Park for their first ever empowerment and awareness walk.

“We’re no longer surviving, we’re thriving,” said Shannon.

Travis said, “A lot of the symptoms people are dealing with, there’s really no rhyme or reason for it and you deal with that for months. And you almost think that you’re crazy. You know the doctor says, ‘Yeah, you got chest pain but we can’t tell you why,’ it’s validation. So I think just bringing awareness and supporting people who are living with this, to let them know that what your experience is real. You’re not the only one. I think that helps a lot people.”

Nearly three dozen people strutted around the Cove. Travis reports the long hauler foundation is taking off.

He said, “We want to get to the point where we can help research this. We’re only two years into this pandemic, it feels like 20 years at this point but we’re only two years into this. And they’re only, barely scratching the surface on what needs to be done to help care for people going forward.”

Team COVID Long Haulers is working to schedule more events for the community.