Northwell Health worker who lost husband to COVID-19 among those being honored at Isles' first game with fans

Zelenka-Dufresne says attending the first Islanders home game with fans at the Coliseum means they are moving forward and showing that they're OK.

News 12 Staff

Mar 11, 2021, 1:53 PM

Updated 1,129 days ago

Share:

The Islanders will finally have fans in the stands Thursday night, to the tune of over 1,000 Northwell Health workers. Among them will be a person who says her family needs to be there to honor their loved one.
When Laura Zelenka-Dufresne's husband Bob was put in a hospital, there was no time goodbyes. On Jan. 15, Bob had to go on a ventilator and the family got a call that he was in grave condition.
"It was actually awful because working the hospital I have seen this story so many times and for me to live it at that moment was incredible," says Zelenka-Dufresne, a Northwell Health dietician. "And he sent me a picture of him right before he got vented with a thumbs up and I'll treasure that picture forever. It was a picture of such hope, he had so much hope that he would pull through after being on the vent."

Zelenka-Dufresne says the family was able to see Bob at his bedside just a day before he died.
"My son says, 'Dad, I love you, I'm going to get that Eagle Scout. Dad, I'm going to do it.' And my daughter said, 'Dad I love you and I'm going to become that ESL teacher and help change the world.' I told Bob that I would love him always and forever like we said on our wedding day. Although he couldn't respond to us, I know he heard us and it will carry us through," she says.
The family, who says they've always been a fan of the underdogs like the Mets and Islanders, will now get to be together with hundreds of others who have battled COVID-19 on the front lines over the last year.
"That picture of the three of us shows that we are going to be strong and we're going to do this for Bob's memory," says Zelenka-Dufresne.
Zelenka-Dufresne says attending the first Islanders home game with fans at the Coliseum means they are moving forward and showing that they're OK.


More from News 12