Bill Stingas hopes his father’s death from COVID will encourage others to get vaccinated

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At 78 years old, Leon Stingas was looking forward to seeing his seven grandchildren after months of lockdown in Victoria, and meeting his eighth due to be born in February.

But according to The Age, this sadly isn’t possible anymore as Mr Stingas, who was apprehensive about hospitals and COVID-19 vaccines, died alone in hospital a week ago after catching the virus from a relative who unwittingly brought it into his home.

Melbourne’s Greek community has been shaken by Mr Stingas’ death, but it has prompted some who were hesitant about getting a coronavirus vaccine to finally roll up their sleeves.

“The phone’s been ringing off the hook,” Mr Stingas’ son, Bill, told The Age.

“People are saying, ‘I can’t believe what’s happened to Leon, I went and got my vaccine when I heard’.”

Bill hopes sharing his family’s story will encourage other Victorian families to get vaccinated.

Bill said he hopes sharing his family’s story will encourage other Victorian families to get vaccinated and avoid the grief he is experiencing.

A stoic man:

Mr Stingas had a host of medical conditions: diabetes, blood pressure issues and nerve damage from a stroke he suffered at the age of 44.

He was a stoic man who had taught himself to walk and talk again after his stroke, but he refused his son’s pleas to get a COVID-19 vaccine due to bad reactions to flu shots in the past and fears about the health system.

“He would say, ‘you go into hospital, you never come out,’ and I would say, ’Dad, this is not a third-world country,” Bill told the newspaper.

Leon Stingas’ death from COVID-19 encourages others to get vaccinated in Melbourne.

Three weeks ago, Bill’s worst fears came true. A family member contracted the virus at work and passed it on to Mr Stingas. He became critically unwell and was taken to The Alfred Hospital, where he was placed into the ICU.

Last Saturday at 7am, Bill received a call. His father was dying and had only hours left. The Stingas family said goodbye to their patriarch through a video call on an iPad.

“We joined a video call with the hospital, myself, mum and brothers, and for the next 28 hours we sat with Leon all day, night and morning until he took his last breath on Sunday morning,” Bill said.

Now, Bill must go through his grief alone. His family can’t gather to mourn together because some are still in isolation due to exposure to the virus.

“I hope this will make people help their elderly parents, their brothers, sisters, relatives and work colleagues [by getting vaccinated],” he said.

Source: The Age.

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