Justin Hunter said his parents, who were married for 35 years, both took proper precautions to prevent themselves from getting COVID-19

By Joelle Goldstein
August 03, 2020 04:09 PM
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Justin Hunter and his parents
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A Georgia teen is grieving the loss of his parents after they both contracted COVID-19 and died within days of each other, according to local news reports and a GoFundMe.

Justin Hunter is still trying to wrap his head around the fact that his mother Angie and father Eugene are no longer with him just two weeks after they tested positive for the coronavirus, despite taking proper precautions, ABC affiliate WSB-TV reported.

"We were a regular family just trying to stay safe during this pandemic," the 17-year-old told the outlet. "When my mom would go to the store, she would be wearing [a] mask and she would be wearing gloves."

Still, the couple contracted cases so severe that Eugene, 59, eventually died on July 26, followed by his wife Angie, 57, four days later on July 30, according to WSB-TV.

Neither Angie nor Eugene had any pre-existing health conditions, Justin told NBC affiliate WXIA.

With no other siblings or immediate family members, Justin has now been left to live with relatives as he prepares to enter his senior year at Johns Creek High School.

"They never raised me to sit around and feel sorry for myself in any situation, and I just gotta keep going and pushing," Justin told the outlet. "I know they're happy up there and that's what makes me happy."

After Justin and his parents tested positive for the virus in July, they all quarantined at home separately, according to WSB-TV. Though Justin was asymptomatic, he said his parents were presenting much differently.

"They became very sick and they had the clear symptoms," the teen recalled to the outlet. "Their temperatures skyrocketed. They had headaches. Horrible cough. They felt very lazy."

Eventually, Eugene and Angie's conditions worsened to the point that they called an ambulance to take them to a hospital.

During that time, Justin recalled some of his last conversations with his parents, noting how his mom said she loved him and "God has you," while his dad vowed to fight.

"Basically, [the] last thing he said was 'I love you and I'm going to get better and I'm going to keep fighting,'" Justin shared with WSB-TV.

Just days after arriving at the hospital, both of Justin's parents died, the outlet reported.

In the time since, the teen has been relying on his beloved memories with Eugene and Angie, who were reportedly college sweethearts and married for 35 years, to get him through this tough time.

"They were just loving toward everybody. No matter what," he 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."

As a linebacker on his high school's football team, Justin also noted how his parents were always supportive of his athletic aspirations.

"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," he said, adding that he plans on dedicating his senior season to them.

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Along with his memories of Eugene and Angie, Justin has found comfort in his community, who have all rallied around him since the deaths of his parents.

On Friday, a GoFundMe page was set up on Justin's behalf to "provide basic life needs and enable him to pursue his educational dreams & aspirations," according to the description. It has raised over $298,000 so far.

For Justin, witnessing the outpour of support from his community has truly blown him away.

"Just seeing everybody, all the people just donating and supporting. Like people from out of state, people from different counties," he explained to WSB-TV. "It feels really good to know that I got people who have my back."

The teen, who still has no idea where he and his parents contracted the virus, also has one message for people about the importance of 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," he told the outlet.

As of Monday afternoon, there have been over 4.6 million cases and at least 155,537 deaths attributed to coronavirus in the United States, according to The New York Times. In Georgia, at least 177,556 cases and 3,758 deaths have been reported, according to the Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.