Featured is part 2 of a two-part series about a Defiance County couple that caught COVID-19, with the husband dying on Aug. 20.

In July, Sherwood resident Sebastian Castro and his wife, Nicole (Woodson) Castro, contracted COVID-19. While Nicole survived the pandemic, Sebastian died from the disease and its complications on Aug. 20 at ProMedica Toledo Hospital.

While the majority of people take measures to stay safe and keep their families healthy, others are lax in their efforts. There are still others who either think it’s no more dangerous than the flu, or worse yet, believe the pandemic is a hoax.

For those who refuse to wear a mask and social distance themselves, Nicole is quick to speak up.

“My entire family got it and they were careful,” Nicole said. “It’s real and it’s bad. You ‘should’ have antibodies afterward to protect you, but they only last a couple of months. Then you can get it again. So the idea of ‘We all get it and get over it and it will end’ is not true. You can get it over and over. This scares my family more than words can say. We’ve been through that hell. We can’t go through it again.

“A big thing I see is people who say, ‘If you’re wearing your mask you are protected, so get off me about wearing one.’ Nope,” she said. “My mask holds in my germs if I sneeze or cough or spit when I talk. Yeah, we all spit when we talk. Gross, but true. My mask protects you. Your mask protects me. If you don’t wear a mask you are putting me and everyone else at risk.

“I get it. I hate wearing a mask,” she added. “I too, feel like I can’t breathe although I know I can. I miss socializing. My mother hasn’t hugged my grandparents in many months. She wants to, but she won’t. Mom almost caved and went to their home and then she got COVID. How would you feel if you infected your parents or grandparents and they died? It’s not worth it.

“This will not end until everyone wears a mask if they are out, social distances and stays home more,” Nicole explained. “You need all of those. If you and I both wear a mask but stand four feet apart and you are COVID positive ... you can give it to me. We have to both wear masks and stay (at least) six feet apart. Yes, it stinks, but being sick stinks more and dying.

“My husband was 38!” she stressed. “We were married less than three years. We didn’t get to have kids. COVID stole him from me. Quit calling me a ‘mask hole’ and getting angry. I am trying to save your life and those you love. Also this is not a political thing. COVID does not only affect Democrats. It is an equal opportunity virus.”

She also is quick to stress the importance of hand washing.

“You may touch something that someone sneezed or coughed on in the store 15 minutes before you got to it,” she stated. “You think you are safe because no one is around. Don’t touch your face, and use hand sanitizer until you are somewhere that you can wash your hands.”

She also emphasized educating children about the importance of wearing a mask on the bus and at school.

“All of the doctors and nurses we came in contact with both during my mom’s stay at Defiance ProMedica and Sebastian’s stay at Toledo ProMedica were amazing,” she added. “He had one dedicated nurse while he was in. The nurse had only him for a patient. I called twice a day to get updates and they were always so kind. They are the reason I got to FaceTime with him. They did everything they could. They kept us informed. They treated him like he was their family. They really fought for him, and we have nothing but great things to say about these people who risk their lives in the COVID ICU for us all.”

Nicole is also grateful to the community during this time.

“A woman I never met set up a Facebook page for him,” she shared. “People all over the world were praying for us. The woman who started his page, Toni Smallwood, arranged for meals to be sent and left on our porch. So much support in so many ways and they literally held us up with their love. We are all blown away!”

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