Friends Rally Around Mass. Man Who Survived COVID-19 Battle: ‘It Means a Lot'

After the scary ordeal, Rob Woodward has had a change of heart around the COVID vaccine and says he definitely would have got the shot if it could have prevented what he went through.

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Rob Woodward had a tough time battling COVID-19. The 51-year-old Massachusetts man almost died and is still on the road to recovery months later.

Woodward was unvaccinated and had to be admitted to UMass Memorial after contracting the virus in early August. There, Woodward was in a coma for about a month and a half.

"I was scared," he shared.

Woodward's father Hale says the hospital called him around Labor Day and told him to get his family together because there was nothing more they could do for his son.

But Woodward survived, though he's still battling back. He still has another month of rehabilitation in the hospital before he can be released, and medical bills are mounting as his long road to recovery continues.

Woodward's friends and co-workers held a fundraiser Saturday to help cover the financial burden he's facing.

Even with a mask on, it was easy to see how much Woodward appreciated his friends riding by the hospital to cheer him up before they gathered to raise critical funds for him.

"It means a lot," he said. "It’s unfathomable the support they’ve given toward me."

“You’re not working, you have no money, your rent is behind, you're about to lose your vehicle. There’s just so much to take into consideration," friend Laurie Zybas said of wanting to help Woodward.

"When somebody gets hurt, you’re there for them,” fundraiser organizer Bernie Patsky said.

Patsky worked together with Woodward operating heavy construction equipment. He and his co-workers were already vaccinated when Woodward got sick and said the experience has really impacted them all.

"It’s just hitting home for everybody,” Patsky said.

And after all he went through, Woodward has had a change of heart around the COVID vaccine.

"Hindsight is 20/20," he said of choosing not to get vaccinated over the summer. "I was against it. I guess now after what I went through, if the vaccination could stop that I would definitely do it."

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