MANKATO, Minn. – Family and friends remain close to Isaac Kolstad's bedside after police say he was beaten outside of a bar in Mankato over the weekend.
One of those friends is Kolstad's best, Chris Schaudt, who spoke to KARE 11 outside of Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, where doctors performed another surgery on Kolstad Tuesday, according to family.
"He's never down, he's always very positive and that's what leads me to believe he'll fight through this. He's not a quitter that's for sure," he said.
Schaudt was hesitant to talk about his friend's condition, but there was no mistaking his own.
"It's been tough, but it's getting easier as the days go on," he said as he started to cry.
He and others are doing their best to support Kolstad's 24-year-old wife, Molly.
Her brother, Mike Fleming, told KARE 11 by phone they have a 3-year-old daughter named Haidyn and Molly is set to give birth to another daughter in just a couple weeks.
"It's been very scary, thankfully she is as strong as she has been. I don't know what I would do in that situation," said Fleming.
That's why Schaudt and Fleming, who lives in Chicago, started at youcaring.com in hopes of raising money for the young family.
"Molly is my little sister and I consider Isaac my little brother. I wanted to do what I could from a distance," he said.
They both say they have received help from all over the world, including from professional athletes, shattering their original goal of $10,000 on their way to reaching $25,000.
"We've had donations from the UK, NFL football players who we have connections with who have tweeted it out on Twitter. So it's spreading pretty fast," said Schaudt. "A huge thanks to everyone."
It is generosity that has given them hope the former college football player can tackle his latest challenge.
"His smile and his laughter was definitely very contagious, and that's what gives us a lot of hope that we'll see that again," he said.
Police arrested two suspects and so far have charged one of them, 20-year-old Phillip Nelson.