APOLLO BEACH, Fla. - An Apollo Beach father living with leukemia died from COVID-19 last week despite being fully vaccinated, and his son said he hopes his dad’s situation motivates others with health conditions to rethink their risk.
Daniel Madry, 61, enjoyed spending time on a boat around Tampa Bay and hanging out with family playing music.
"He played the guitar a little bit. He would always send me random videos and it was always fun watching him get better and better," said Mike Madry of Tampa, one of Madry’s sons.
Mike said his dad got more health conscious after he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in May 2020.
"That really changed his thinking on diet, so he started cutting out all sugar and immediately started working out again as well and the transformation from 2018 to now was incredible," said Mike. "He really had a six-pack, and he was 61 years old. He was in incredible shape."
Mike Madry said his father was strict with masking and social distancing as well during the pandemic. So when the chance came for his father to ease up on safety measures, Mike said the COVID-19 vaccine took a weight off his dad’s shoulders.
"He was able to hang out with his friends. He was able to go to the grocery store and not wear a mask, see family members, and that’s really what ended up killing him was that he didn’t know the vaccine wouldn’t be effective for him," said Mike Madry.
Daniel Madry ended up in the hospital around August 14 and died on August 24, Mike said. It was shocking to their family. Mike said his dad didn’t know he would still be so vulnerable.
"I really believe that if he had just one conversation, whether it be with a family member or his medical provider, that the vaccine may not be efficient for him, that he wouldn’t produce the antibodies, that there’s no question in my mind that he would have gone back to life the way before the vaccine came out," Mike continued.
Now, Mike said he wants to share a message of caution with others like his dad to spare other families the grief they are experiencing.
"My hope is that somebody watching this who is immunocompromised like my dad and just didn’t know will really reevaluate their decision to not wear a mask and socially distance because if my dad did that he would still be here today. There’s no question," he offered.
Mike said his dad got sick and went to the hospital around the same time the government-approved booster shots for immunocompromised people to help improve their immune response to the vaccine. He said he feels this also underscores how important it is for everyone to mask up, social distance and get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.