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Western Washington family pleads for people to get vaccinated after father dies from COVID-19

At 45 years old, Patrick Lane was healthy with no underlying health conditions but felt hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

LAKE STEVENS, Wash. — A Snohomish man who planned to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but was hesitant, lost his life to the virus before he could get the shot and now his children are sharing his story.

Patrick Lane's family said he was a constant goofball, doing silly dances at family functions, and of course, there were his "dad jokes." 

"It's like he studied it from the time he could read," chuckled his daughter, Katie. "It was just so awful sometimes. Every single time I'd say, 'I'm hungry' he'd say, 'Hi, Hungry. I'm dad.'"

Katie said her dad planned to get vaccinated but believes he was hesitant, in part, from watching right-wing media reports.

"He'd watch YouTube videos of Tucker Carlson," said Katie. "We think he was a victim of misinformation."

Patrick, a Boeing designer of more than 20 years, was not an "anti-vaxxer," according to Katie, but was waiting until the Food and Drug Administration gave the vaccines full approval before initiating the process. 

But just days before the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine received federal approval, Patrick was diagnosed with COVID-19 and started deteriorating quickly. 

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"It honestly kind of felt like a sick joke," said Katie. "When he was placed on the ventilator, I was told there was still hope, but part of me knew that was the beginning of the end."

Less than two weeks later, Patrick was dead at just 45 years old.

"There was just so much I wanted to do with him and now I don't get the chance," said Patrick's 18-year-old son, Evan. 

Patrick was healthy with no underlying conditions. His family said they believe he caught the virus from an eastern Washington barber who went to work sick. 

"There's no way for us to be 100% sure, but she was coughing a lot under her mask," said Katie. "There's a lot of anger around that."

Patrick started feeling sick the weekend the family was moving Katie into her first apartment at Washington State University. The 20-year-old junior said she vividly remembers the last conversation she had with her father.

"He gave me a big hug. He said, 'I'm proud of you, Katie bug.' If I had known that was my last time talking to him and hugging him, I would've held on a little longer."

Now, Katie and Evan are stuck thinking about the "what ifs." What if he had been vaccinated just a few days earlier? What if he had waited to get his hair cut? But those questions are moot now, as the reality of their father's death begins to sink in. 

"Every little girl dreams about her dad walking her down the aisle," said Katie. "Now, I won’t get that. The Christmases, the grandchildren he won’t get to meet... it really hurts."

"He never saw my first day of senior year of high school. He'll never see me graduate," added Evan. "We always joked that I waited too long to get my license. Now, it's too late for me to drive him around."

More than 660,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the virus hit the United States. In Washington state, just over 7,000 residents have lost their lives to the virus, including Patrick. 

His children said their father's story carries a warning for everyone to get vaccinated. If not for their sake, then for their family's.

"When he was a kid, he didn't know what he wanted to be when he grew up. He just knew he wanted to be a dad," recalled Katie. "If another dad is out there listening, I just want them to stay here with their kids."