Kevin and Misty Mitchem were high school sweethearts who leave behind five children.
In an ironic and tragic turn of events, a Virginia couple that vocally opposed the coronavirus vaccine has died of COVID-19 just two weeks apart.
According to The Free Lance-Star, high-school sweethearts Kevin Mitchem, 48, and Misty Mitchem, 46 leave behind five orphaned children Riley, 17; Leah, 14, and twins Taylor and Aiden, 11. Kevin also has a 22-year-old daughter named Angel, whose son will turn 2 next month, from a previous relationship.
Kevin was the first to fall ill, developing a cough before ultimately testing positive for COVID-19. His wife Misty was diabetic, causing her condition to decline much quicker. She was intubated on Sept. 22 when her kidneys were functioning at 50 percent. She died Sept. 23, the very same day Kevin was hospitalized. Kevin died on Oct. 8.
“Both our families have been turned upside down,” Kevin’s brother Mike Mitchem recently said. “The kids are the main thing, his oldest daughter just had a son and I’m sure she wanted him to get close with his grandfather and that’s not gonna happen now.”
“He never smoked, never drank, didn’t do drugs, didn’t have diabetes, wasn’t overweight, was a heavy equipment operator, did a lot of highway work. He worked every day. He was always working, always outside, always doing something. Very active.”
Mike also spoke to PEOPLE, explaining that it was his hope that going public with the details of how his brother and sister-in-law passed away would inspire others to take COVID-19 seriously and take steps to become vaccinated.
“I knew how deadly COVID could be so I went to my brother and asked him to please get vaccinated,” he said. “His response to me was to show different memes and stuff that he found on Facebook. He believed all that to be gospel truth and I could not change his mind.”
“The heartbreaking part was while [Kevin] was in the hospital, he asked the medical staff to give him the shot. They had to tell him it was too late.”
“My brother was healthy. He was still pretty much young and he had everything to live for,” Mike continued. “He had five kids and a grandson and now all of them have lost him. It’s hard on my parents. They’re 73, and my mom said your kids are not supposed to die before you.”
The couple’s four younger children were relocated to South Carolina to live with an aunt and uncle following their deaths, Mike said. As of Monday, the GoFundMe page established for the children has raised almost $22,000.
“The main emphasis we would like to push is ‘get vaccinated. If not for you, then for your loved ones,” Mike said. “If just one person gets their life saved from vaccinations, then we did our part.”
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