Jon Rosen, Haddonfield resident and health-care worker, is lying in Cooper Hospital in Camden, where he has been battling coronavirus since late April. He’s hooked to a ventilator — a good sign, considering what the course of the infection had required to save his ravaged lungs weeks earlier — and slowly recovering.
But the friends and family who support Rosen, and who look to the community for help, aren’t trying to turn his tale into typical human interest article award bait.
“This is not a typical story … this is not a story of someone who’s a victim and deserving of pity while the rest of the world is falling apart,” Rosen family spokesperson Lu Hanessian told the Sun on June 1.
Hanessian, as well as a swarm of well-wishers, friends and donors, have combined to form a Love Army whose focus is positive thoughts and prayers as Rosen continues his slow recovery process.
Rosen was working as a nurse supervisor at Deptford Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, a 240-bed facility located in the eponymous Gloucester County township. He was infected with COVID-19 in mid-April and tried to tough it out and wait out his symptoms at home, before being admitted to hospital on April 24. Three days later, he was placed on a ventilator.
“Jon is a Renaissance guy. He’s a drummer, a musician, an incredible storyteller and he’s been a health-care worker for 30 years,” Hanessian explained.
“He’s a guy that, prior to this sickness and the fight for his life, is the last guy anyone would imagine could be on a ventilator for the last 30 or more days.”
What’s more, the family was thrown deeper into crisis mode when Rosen’s employer decided to cut off his income as he fought for his life on a ventilator.
“This happened within the first couple of weeks of Jon being in the ICU, some time in early May,” Hanessian noted. “There is no income from him because of this. June, his wife, who runs her own business, has had to slow down so much, having to take care of business things and home virtually.
“So, we established the GoFundMe page for them. But June is someone who is not comfortable receiving; she likes to give. We built this Love Army and have galvanized folks and have done outreach in the community,” Hanessian added.
Hanessian revealed that in the worst period of his illness, Rosen had to be placed on an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine — a device that acts like an external lung — for a three-week period before being taken off the last week of May, and is doing better, day by day, solely on the ventilator.
“Doctors said he has climbed the mountain and now he’s coming down the other side,” Hanessian stated.
Once the reality of Jon’s illness hit, June’s friends rallied. And even as Jon was placed on the ventilator, and later the ECMO, his wife wanted all concerned parties to keep speaking and thinking positively. Now that Jon’s health is improving, June doesn’t want those positive vibes to stop.
“June is a force for good in this world,” Hanessian offered. “She is a positivity magnet. She believes in the power of positive thinking and of positive words to heal, the power of focusing attention and energy on what you want to bring about.”
Though trying her best to let others act on her behalf, June offered up a sentiment appropriate beyond her own situation.
“The world needs good news, good neighbors and good friends in this nightmare,” she said in a statement sent to the Sun. “A Love Army is not just what Jon needs or I need, but what the whole world needs.”
In recent days, doctors said Rosen’s lungs look like they’re starting to clear. After a month of worry, June is crying tears of gratitude. Those involved in Rosen’s continuing care said this was a good sign, as tears of gratitude outweigh tears of sorrow.
“And so we’re breathing symbolically for Jon. We’re breathing to stay focused. We’re hoping hour by hour and day by day that he recovers and comes home quickly,” Hanessian concluded.
The family has set up a GoFundMe site that can be reached at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/jonathan-rosen-healthcare-hero-fund.