A young Duncan farmer, a father of two young girls, has died of COVID-19 after a weeks-long struggle that has inspired others to be vaccinated against the disease.
Thirty-nine-year-old Joshua Mellor died Monday just weeks after being admitted to the intensive-care unit at Royal Jubilee Hospital. He was asthmatic and had not been vaccinated.
He fell sick in late August and in early September was taken by ambulance to Cowichan District Hospital, then transferred to the ICU at Royal Jubilee.
At the time, Mellor’s wife, Miranda Mellor, wrote on social media: “I truly believe we wouldn’t be in this situation we’re in if he had gotten vaccinated, at least not this severe.”
On Sept. 19, Miranda wrote that Joshua had texted her to say: “They are putting the tube in. Love you.”
She said she phoned the hospital and a nurse confirmed Joshua was being intubated and put on a ventilator to help him breathe. “He has been fighting so hard for over two weeks now, I think/hope this is what his body needs to start healing,” she wrote.
But by Sunday, his organs were failing and he had a large blood clot in his lungs. On Monday, he died.
Joshua Mellor, who studied at Vancouver Island University and owned Mellor Mobile Mechanical, loved farming.
“He loved anything to do with farming and tractors, and was one heck of a mechanic,” said sister Sara Phillips in an interview. “He was always there to help others. The Cowichan Valley, and farming community will miss him.”
He was caring and loved his family, she said.
He leaves behind his daughters, Georgia, who turns three this week, and three-month old daughter Mila, and his parents Jeannie and Mark Mellor.
“You fought so hard to try and stay with us, I know you did,” Miranda Mellor wrote on social media. The couple met in 2011 and married in 2014.
“I keep thinking you’ll come home from a typical long day of work,” she wrote.
While Joshua Mellor was fighting for his life in hospital, wife Miranda asked people with concerns about COVID vaccines to talk to their doctors.
Miranda, who is fully vaccinated, wrote that while she didn’t believe vaccines should be mandatory — “100 per cent your body, your choice” — hospitalization rates show the majority of people in hospital with COVID are unvaccinated and “the numbers are hard to ignore.”
”I know a lot of people who have now gotten vaccinated because of Josh who were hesitant before,” she wrote. “I hope no one else has to live this nightmare we’re currently in. Holding your little girl who’s crying for her dad to come home is about as awful as it can get.”
On Tuesday, Phillips said she was certain her brother “was going to pull through and come home.” She mourned for his wife, his children and her parents, who have lost a son. She said the family is grateful to the caring and compassionate ICU staff at Royal Jubliee.
“My heart is broken,” said Phillips. “It just doesn’t feel real.”
A Josh’s Fan Club page on Facebook has more than 2,700 followers and donations to the family via GoFundMe reached more that $20,000 on Tuesday afternoon.