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The Power of Healing: Canton man survives near-fatal bout with COVID-19, sings again

At one point, doctors said Jonathan Maas had a 5% chance of survival.

CANTON, Ohio — Singing has always been a part of 54-year-old Jonathan Maas' life. Wherever the Canton native sings, at church or in bands, his words reach so many.

But last November, the music stopped.

"It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I'd sang at church, and that afternoon I started getting some symptoms," Jonathan said.

Days later, and with a COVID-19 diagnosis, Jonathan's health worsened.

"I woke up that morning, 103-degree fever, cough, and couldn't breathe. I leaned over to Michelle and I knew she couldn't go into the ER with me or anything like that. So I said, 'Just call the ambulance. I need to go to the hospital," Jonathan described.

At Aultman Hospital in Canton, he faced an unthinkable reality.

"And then they said, 'We're going to have to vent you ... you're getting bad.' So I called Michele and I said goodbye. I said, 'Put Ben on the line.' I said goodbye to him. Then I called my daughter and said goodbye," Jonathan recalled.

At home, Michele was dealing with another heartbreaking reality: Not being able to be with the love of her life in his darkest hour.

"I felt so sad for him that we couldn't be there for him in that scariest moment of his entire life, you know?" Michele said.

Michele and her son Ben were quarantined. They, too, had tested positive. But while feeling helpless, love showed up at their front door.

"A friend of ours, Jada, organized a prayer vigil with our pastor, Tom, from our church. And they all came to the front porch. I'm in the front yard and Ben and I stood on the porch and literally, we just prayed and cried and it was a very big support," Michele said.

As Jonathan battled for his life, Michele found comfort and healing in sharing her family's story on social media.

"Several times his lungs collapsed, so he had to have chest tubes put in," Michele said. And he was on dialysis ... his kidneys had failed," Michele told us. "The doctors had given him less than 5% chance to live."

Social media and texts were a distraction. But, fulfilling ones.

"I answered every text, every DM, every phone call, every email that took hours a day, but it was productive. And it was something I felt in control over," Michele said.

Soon, support for Jonathan spread across the world. 

"We have friends in Germany and Australia in England and India," Michele said. "I would put something on Facebook and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people would reach out and respond."

Devastating circumstances? Yes. But, Jonathan's story was bringing everyone together.

"All ethnicities, all religions, you know, everybody reached out to be positive," Michele said.

After 47 days on a ventilator, Jonathan called home.

"So I answered the phone and it was the nurses saying, 'Nothing's wrong, but I want you to tell you something.' And then it was Jonathan. He's like, 'Hi baby. I love you.' And so I'm just crying and in the middle of Panera and I just couldn't believe it," Michele remembered.

Then, nearly two and a half months of being away, and unforgettable homecoming: Friends and family lined the street waiting for Jonathan's arrival. Signs, balloons, and enough love to fill the whole block.

"It was absolutely amazing," Jonathan said.

He missed the holidays with his family, so they gave him a Christmas in February. And, he got to thank the healthcare heroes who saved his life recently.

In April, Jonathan returned to the place where he found his voice again: Church. 

With oxygen support, and a grateful heart, Jonathan sang to his congregation. He didn't miss a note. And, there wasn't a dry eye inside.

He knows he's a miracle. And, so does his wife.

"He's my miracle," Michele said.

"I don't take anything for granted. I mean, if I have to go through this to change somebody else's life in any way, in any reason, I mean, it's worth it," Jonathan said.

Editor's Note: The below video was part of a previous Power of Healing story

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