News August 04, 2020 at 08:00 am

17-year-old Atlanta high school football player loses parents to COVID-19 within 4 days

Francis Akhalbey | Content Manager

Francis Akhalbey August 04, 2020 at 08:00 am

August 04, 2020 at 08:00 am | News

Justin Hunter (left), 17, lost both his parents to COVID-19 within days -- Photo via GoFundMe

A metro Atlanta teenager and high school senior lost both of his parents to COVID-19 within days last week. According to WSB-TV, Justin Hunter, a 17-year-old linebacker for the Johns Creek High School football team, lost his father Eugene, 59, on July 26, and his 57-year-old mother, Angie, four days later. They had been married for 35 years.

Speaking to the news platform, Hunter said their family tested positive for the virus two weeks ago but he was asymptomatic. He said his parents’ condition, however, deteriorated with worsening symptoms.

“They became very sick and they had the clear symptoms,” he said. “Their temperatures skyrocketed. They had headaches. Horrible cough. They felt very lazy.”

Though his parents initially quarantined and were treating themselves at home separately, they had to be transported to a hospital after their condition deteriorated. They later died days apart in the hospital. Hunter said he does not know where his family contracted the virus and his parents always took the necessary safety precautions.

“We were a regular family just trying to stay safe during this pandemic,” Hunter said. “When my mom would go to the store, she would be wearing mask and she would be wearing gloves.”

Angie was a human resources executive and Eugene played the saxophone at their local church. According to Hunter, his parents were cherished in the community.

“They were just loving toward everybody. No matter what,” Hunter told WSB-TV. “If you had a problem, they would be there to help you. You know that they had very big hearts and they would give without even thinking about getting anything back.”

He also said they supported his football ambitions. “Since I started playing, we always talked about me playing in college and then playing in the pros. They would have wanted me to keep going and get a scholarship and my schoolwork done.”

Albeit grieving, Hunter is adamant he is going to keep his head up.

“They never raised me to sit around and feel sorry for myself in any situation, and I just gotta keep going and pushing,” he said. “I know they’re happy up there and that’s what makes me happy.”

In the aftermath of their passing, the community has rallied around Hunter, with a GoFundMe set up to support him raising over $400,000 so far, surpassing its $350,000 goal.

“Just seeing everybody all the people just donating and supporting like people from out of state people from different counties, It feels really good to know that I got people who have my back,” Hunter, who’ll now live with his relatives, said.

He also has an advice  for people who are adamant on not wearing masks: “If you don’t wear it for yourself, then wear it for the next person. Because you could be saving that person’s life.”

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