Former Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton is grateful to be alive after surviving a life-threatening bout of pneumonia last fall. “I am blessed to be here because there was a time when they were about to put me on life support,” Mary Lou, 55, told Today ’s Hoda Kotb on January 8.

The devastating illness came on quickly.“I didn’t know what was wrong with me,” Mary Lou said, recalling how she lay on her bedroom floor struggling to breathe. Luckily, a neighbor noticed that one of the cars in Mary Lou’s driveway had the door open and came in the house to tell her. “She found me…and pretty much saved my life,” Mary Lou said.

Although her health is still in a “vulnerable state,” this gold medal winner is determined to stay positive. “I have no idea what the future holds for me,” she says. “But I’m a fighter and I’m not going to give up.”