CROSBY – A benefit for “Colby Strong” Vondenstein was held at the Crosby Fair & Rodeo pavilion last Saturday.
Colby Vondenstein, 24, an in-shape husband and father of three, contracted COVID-19 after last Christmas and as a result had a double lung and a kidney transplant. He had no underlying health conditions. His family caught the bug too, but they recovered while Colby deteriorated. Doctors in February said he probably only had days to live.
Sandy Mendez, his mother, chatted with the Star-Courier at the benefit before Colby made an appearance on a walker to thank supporters and attribute his stunning recovering to his prayer warrior supporters. Mendez stated, “We are holding this to help with medical bills. It is going to be a long recovery, and he is going to be out of work for about a year.”
“Everything is falling into place,” said Vondenstein, a former petrochemical plant worker. “This is how we fight with prayer.”
The benefit included kids entertainment, a live auction, a bake sale, horse shoes, toss games, benefit plates and an ax throwing contest.
A “Colby Strong” Benefit page has been started on GoFundMe. Those who would like to contribute are encouraged to do so there.
Vondenstein had just come home from the hospital in downtown Houston on Monday. He is down about 50 pounds from his pre-COVID-19 weight. He has had to relearn to walk and is now on a walker. The family was told on February 28 that he only had days to live, but he has grown stronger, they would argue, steadily with prayer.
“He is starting over. He has had to learn how to feed himself,” said Mendez. “But he is there now. It is amazing. It is like winning the Powerball over and over with Colby. He will master skills before they are ready.”
Asked whether people should get vaccinated against COVID-19, she said, “Absolutely. When it first came out, I was against it, until it happened to my son. We have to do something to stop this blight.”
“So many people have died because they didn’t have access to the right equipment. My son was so fortunate to be accepted on ECMO. He was on ECMO for two months. He had a tracheotomy, he was intubated, he was on dialysis… There are many hospitals that don’t have those ECMO machines. Without that equipment he wouldn’t have made it. They need to do the research on this disease because it is real and we don’t know what it is capable of doing, even to the strong.”