CANTON, Ohio — In his lush, colorful backyard in Canton, Jonathan Mass is grateful.
He spends a lot of his time reflecting with his wife, Michele. That's because, just 18 months ago, he thought he may never see his oasis again.
"I should not be here," Jonathan told us a few weeks ago.
It was November of 2020 when he was first diagnosed with COVID-19. He went to the ER in Aultman Hospital with a 103-degree fever, cough, and trouble breathing.
What Jonathan and Michele thought would be a brief hospital stay turned into the fight of his life. Doctors gave him a 5% chance of survival; he spent nearly 50 days on a ventilator.
Then, something miraculous happened: He lived. Soon, Jonathan returned to his family and the church where he loves to sing songs of worship.
"Just seeing everybody looking at me, supporting me, can't believe that I'm there actually singing, that's amazing," Jonathan said of his return, through tears.
The miracles didn't stop there. Jonathan was scheduled for two lung surgeries, but surgeons said his lungs weren't strong enough to endure them,
"They said, 'We're going to put you on the transplant list,'" Jonathan remembered.
But that's not what happened. In fact, what did happen is something no one understands to this day.
"My lungs are 100%," Jonathan said. "[My doctor] says he wants to put it in the journals, but he said, he's afraid ... they're going think he's lying, because there is no reason for it other than miraculous."
Michele will never understand it, either. She says she doesn't need to.
"I feel so thankful every day," she told us. "Even laying in my bed, our bed, sometimes I'll reach over and touch him and just [say], 'Thank you, thank you, thank you that he's here."
They're thanking others, too: the heroes who saved Jonathan's life.
"God brought me back for a reason," Jonathan said. "He brought me back for my wife and kids, but he brought me back to give back to the people that were suffering so hard with me, losing patients left and right."
The Maases have been giving back to Aultman Hospital ever since, with food drop offs, care packages, and notes of love.
"I mean, any little thing that we can give back to them, just the little things make the biggest difference," Jonathan said, crying once again.
It also inspired them to start their non-profit "Another Act of Kindess." Earlier this month, they hosted a free concert called "A night of music and compassion" in Jackson Township. The event also benefitted three other local charities.
"We have over 105 businesses locally that have donated to us," Michele said. "Never in a million years would I have thought we would be at this point and having all of these wonderful things happening and the community come together."
Today, life is beautiful for the Maas family. Jonathan's second chance afforded them family vacations, dinner with friends, and moments of deep gratitude this year. They have endless gratitude for the heroes who brought Jonathan home.
"I can't thank them enough," Jonathan remarked. "They did not give up. They did not give up when they probably should have. They didn't."
Jonathan and Michele say they'll continue to expand Another Act of Kindness by giving back to other local hospitals, first responders, schools and teachers. There is a planned golf outing in August to raise more funds.
Check out our original coverage from May of 2021: