Alberta father, 40, dies of COVID-19 after coming to Canada with family as refugees

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Alberta father, 40, dies of COVID-19 after coming to Canada with family as refugees
WATCH: COVID-19 has turned into a tragic reality for one southern Alberta family, who is now mourning their husband and father – Oct 30, 2020

The death of a 40-year-old Alberta man who tested positive for COVID-19 has left a deep void in the lives of his loved ones.

Majd Yared came to Canada with his wife Elen and their two young daughters four years ago after fleeing war-torn Syria.

One of his daughters is in Grade 2 and the other one is in Grade 7.

The family came to Canada for a better and safer life. According to family friends, the couple worked very hard to create a new home in Lethbridge and to become part of the community.

In mid-October, Majd was diagnosed with COVID-19 and became very ill, family spokesperson Heather Spiess and another family friend said. He was then admitted to the ICU.

He passed away on Oct. 27, leaving behind his family and friends, whose lives have been shattered by his unexpected passing.

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“I wanted to make them feel like this was their new home and part of our family and it was the opposite,” Spiess said.

Spiess and her parents met the Yared family at a party through their church a few years ago. They built a familial bond with their new friends.

“It made me feel like we were part of his family and he welcomed us in,” Spiess explained.

Spiess also said Majd loved his new home in Canada and would often express how grateful he was to be given a second chance at life in this country.

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Spiess also started a GoFundMe page to help support the girls and pay for funeral costs.

As of Friday evening, around $30,000 has been raised.

Spiess’ father, Brian Wright, says Majd had many dreams for himself and his family here in Canada.

“He wanted to own a home and they were working towards that. He was a culinary expert in the kitchen. His food was unbelievable and one of his dreams was to have a Syrian-Arabic restaurant.

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“So, that’s another dream that will never be realized,” he added.

Wright said Majd worked in banking in Syria, but the family lost everything to the war, including their home and many of their personal items.

Elen works at the Children’s House Child Care Society in Lethbridge, where a COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in more than 20 cases.

Family friends also told Global News that Majd had an infectious smile and great laugh, adding he was always in a good mood.

“He’s the kindest person, he has the biggest heart, a smile always on his face,” Joliana Rezk said.

Rezk’s family landed in Canada a few months apart from the Yareds and their families instantly became friends.

“I just want to say to Majd that we’re going to miss him and that we will take care of his family,” she stated.

“We love him, and his smile and [the sound of his voice] will be missed,” Rezk said.
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On Friday Children’s House provided a statement to Global News, which reads:

“It was with deep sadness that we learned of the passing of Majd Yared Wednesday morning. A loving father of two and cherished husband to one of our valued staff members at Children’s House. We offer our deepest sympathy, with the understanding that there are no words that can ease the grief Mr. Yared’s family are feeling right now.

“This is a tragic loss, and it is being felt intensely by our entire society and by our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Elen and her two daughters.

“We will continue to do all we can to support this family as we mourn the loss of Majd with them. We are working with AHS and Lethbridge Family Services to offer whatever resources we can to Elen, her children and our other staff.

“The staff at Children’s House have specifically asked us to share with our community the following. We hope that out of respect for the terrible experience they are going through, their thoughts will be heeded:

“COVID-19 is a serious, life threatening infection, it is not the flu, it is not a cold. It does not discriminate, and it has no mercy.

“Healing from COVID-19 is not just about physical health, there are much longer-term effects, not the least of which is the trauma experienced by its victims as they face fear, isolation, stigma, and in worst case scenarios grief for the loss of a loved one, along with the physical symptoms.

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“We join our staff in pleading to the public to not only adhere to all of the guidelines for COVID-19 spread prevention, but to be honest and forthcoming in reporting symptoms – no matter what the inconvenience.

“Staying home with what seem like minor symptoms today, could save someone’s life tomorrow.”

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