JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (WSB/CNN) - A 17-year-old from Georgia says he will use strength he gained from his parents and their love to get through his grief following their deaths, just four days apart, from COVID-19.
Justin Hunter, 17, says he and his parents, Angie and Eugene Hunter, took all the proper precautions, but about two weeks ago, the whole family tested positive for COVID-19.
"We were a regular family, just trying to stay safe during this pandemic," Justin Hunter said. "I don't really know how our family got the virus."
The rising senior at Johns Creek High School says he was asymptomatic, but his parents started showing serious symptoms and were rushed to the hospital.
"Their temperature, it skyrocketed. They had headaches, a horrible cough. They just felt very lazy," Justin Hunter said.
Eugene Hunter, an accomplished musician, lost his battle with the virus on July 26. Angie Hunter, a human resources executive, died four days later. They were 59 and 57, respectively.
The 17-year-old says that despite his grief and shock, he wants to get through this for his parents. He says his strength comes from them, his two biggest role models who shared an incredible marriage for 35 years and had been his No. 1 fans since he started playing football as a young child.
“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.”
The 17-year-old also has a message for anyone who isn’t taking the pandemic seriously: wear a mask.
"If you don't wear it for yourself, wear it for the next person because you could be saving that person's life," he said.
Justin Hunter, who is a linebacker on his high school football team, says he will dedicate his senior season to his parents. He plans to live with relatives.