Family and friends say Neil Patel's life was not supposed to end like this. The 20-year-old died Sunday after a tough battle with the virus.
"Unfortunately, COVID hit him and hit him hard. He was a warrior throughout his treatment and really fought for himself and for his family," said Fran Littlewood, who is a friend of the family.
Littlewood says Patel's family is too distraught to talk on camera. She hosted a blood drive in his honor to remind people why giving blood is so important. Fittingly, Patel's blood type was B positive, something that she says embodied his character.
"It was the same thing in his life 'be positive' and that is what flowed through his veins. Everything was 'be positive,'" she said.
Patel graduated from Upper Merion High School and was excited to be attending Penn State University. COVID shattered his dreams. On April 11, he was placed on a ventilator and never recovered.
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"He said he would come home, and that is what his family did as they fought beside him every day with the hope to bring him home. Unfortunately, that didn't happen," said Littlewood.
Patel contracted the virus in March before he got the vaccine. Littlewood is not sure why Patel was not vaccinated but is hoping many lives will be saved by hearing Patel's story.
"The family wants everybody to protect themselves. Whatever path you can take to avoid this, whether that is a vaccination, or masking and six feet, they want the community to be protected," said Littlewood.