The community is rallying behind a metro Atlanta football player who tragically lost both parents to COVID-19 just days apart.
Channel 2's Michael Seiden talked to 17-year-old Justin Hunter, who lost his parents, Eugene and Angie Hunter, last week.
Justin Hunter is a rising senior at Johns Creek High School and a linebacker on the football team. He said he plans on dedicating his senior season to his parents.
Hunter told Seiden that the whole family tested positive for the virus two weeks ago. Hunter was asymptomatic, but his parents developed alarming symptoms.
“They became very sick and they had the clear symptoms,” Hunter said. “Their temperatures skyrocketed. They had headaches. Horrible cough. They felt very lazy.”
Hunter said that at first, they quarantined at home separately, but then it got worse. They decided to call an ambulance. Within days, Hunter’s parents both died at the same hospital.
Eugene Hunter, 59, died July 26. Angie Hunter, 57, died July 30.
Justin Hunter said he has no idea where the family contracted the virus, and that his parents were taking all the proper 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.”
Hunter said his parents had been married for 35 years and met in college. His mother was a human resources executive. His father, Eugene Hunter, was known in his church community for being a talented saxophone player.
Justin Hunter said his parents were beloved in the community and were always there to led a helping hand.
"They were just loving toward everybody. No matter what," Hunter said. "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."
Hunter said his parents always supported his football aspirations.
“Since I started playing, we always talked about me playing in college and then playing in the pros,” Hunter said. “They would have wanted me to keep going and get a scholarship and my schoolwork done.”
Hunter remembered the last conversations he had with his parents. His mom told him she loved him and “God has you.” His dad promised to fight.
“Basically , last thing he said was ‘I love you and I’m going to get better and I’m going to keep fighting,’” Hunter said.
Hunter said that despite his grief and shock, he wants to get through this for them.
“They never raised me to sit around and feel sorry for myself in any situation, and I just gotta keep going and pushing,” Hunter said. “I know they’re happy up there and that’s what makes me happy.”
Hunter got an outpouring of support from the community. A GoFundMe has been set up for Hunter with over $100,000 raised so far.
Hunter posted a statement on Twitter Friday night thanking everyone for their support during this difficult time.
"Just seeing everybody all the people just donating and supporting like people from out of state people from different counties," Hunter said. "It feels really good to know that I got people who have my back."
Hunter plans to live with relatives. He had one message to people about wearing a mask.
“If you don’t wear it for yourself, then wear it for the next person,” Hunter said. " Because you could be saving that person’s life.”
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