BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Friends and family of 40-year-old Jason Kolin are grieving after the fun-loving Lackawanna man passed away from COVID-19 on Wednesday.
"He passed quietly but they couldn't save him, they couldn't cure him," Kolin's mother Nancy shared with 7 Eyewitness News.
Kolin first started displaying flu-like symptoms in mid-November. Within days, as his family and friends recall, he was having difficulty breathing and needed medical attention.
"He was at home one day and he was so out of breath that he had to call the ambulance," said John Walsh, Kolin's friend. "Ever since then, [he's been] fighting the battle."
Kolin was put on a ventilator beginning November 21st.
A proud Buffalo guy who had a number of freelance jobs that took him all over Western New York, Kolin was also a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan because of his roots in Pennsylvania. He looked forward to the match up against the Buffalo Bills every year, and had this upcoming Sunday's game circled on his calendar, eager to watch with his friends.
Tonight at 11pm @WKBW: remembering Jason Kolin (📷 far left), a 40 y/o Lackawanna man who’s life was taken by COVID-19 yesterday. He had been looking forward to this weekend, as his favorite teams @steelers and @BuffaloBills play each other. This picture was from the 2019 game: pic.twitter.com/yofcq2PuZC— Ashley Rowe (@AshleyroweWKBW) December 11, 2020
His friends have already started discussing how they can honor him Sunday night.
Kolin is remembered for his buoyant personality.
"Always a good time to hang out with Jay, always laughing when he's around, he's just a good guy," said Walsh.
Friends describe him as outgoing, always smiling, and ready to give the shirt off his back.
"You know you can call him at 4 a.m., tell him you're stranded in the middle of nowhere, and he's the kind of guy that would get out of bed, hop in the car and come get you," said Casey Slimak, Kolin's friend.
Kolin's passing happened on the same day that the United States reported more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths. When asked if he had any pre-existing conditions, his mother says he suffered from diabetes.
"We're all so devastated," said Walsh. "A lot of us didn't take [COVID-19] so serious. We knew it existed but until it hits close to him, now it's really, it's real. And it's really sad."
Walsh, Slimak and Kolin's mother Karen all have the same message for anyone doubting the severity of the coronavirus: wear a mask, follow the rules, and stay socially distant from others.
A GoFundMe has been set up by Kolin's family to help pay for his hospital bills and funeral costs.