JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Within one week, one young Jacksonville woman has lost both her older brother and father to COVID-19 complications while her mom also remains hospitalized from the disease.
Mark McCall died Friday morning from COVID-19 complications, his daughter, Payten, confirmed.
Born February 12, 1961, Mark was a devoted husband and father. He was a millshop foreman with Duval County Public Schools' maintenance team, where he worked for over 20 years. He had three children — Britt, Cason and Payten with his wife, Sherry, a Duval Schools media specialist.
"It’s an awful loss for our school community," a Duval Schools spokeswoman said Friday. "Our hearts and prayers go out their families and loved ones."
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Mark died Friday morning after saying goodbye to his loved ones and being moved to Hospice care one day earlier. He was 60 years old.
"I never thought it would come to this. There are no words that I can give you to explain how I feel," Payten said Friday. "There are no adjectives to explain the pain."
Earlier this week, Mark's oldest son, Britt — who worked alongside him in the school district's maintenance department — also died from COVID-19 complications. He was 35.
McCall family was not vaccinated. Now one member is spreading the word to get the shot
As previously reported by the Times-Union, the McCall family was not vaccinated, citing fear of the vaccine. It's a decision Payten now says was wrong. The 24-year-old is sharing her family's story in hopes that other people on the fence will get vaccinated.
"I want my story to help everyone. I want it to help someone who’s scared of getting vaccinated, someone who is being ignorant in the time spent with the people they love. Someone who is struggling like us and have them know they are not alone," she said.
Payten launched a GoFundMe earlier this week in hopes it would help with her parents' bills and late, funeral bills for her late brother. Now, she hopes the funds can help pay for two funerals as well as taking care of her mother.
Sherry's recovery has been a long process, Payten said. The 58-year-old was admitted to Ascension St. Vincent's two weeks ago, unable to breathe or eat. She is slowly recovering.
"I want her to keep the house that all of us made memories in. I want her to keep the lights, the travel trailer that my daddy wanted and we stayed in, the truck that my daddy drove," Payten said. "I want her to be able to call his phone and though he will never answer it, I hope it gives her peace."
The GoFundMe has raised over $7,500 as of Friday. But above everything else, Payten hopes sharing her story will help save someone else's brother or father.
"To the people who think something like this could never happen to you, you’re very wrong," she said. "I wish it didn’t happen to my brother and my dad. But if I can help someone else, I’m going to try."
Click here to read more from the Florida Times-Union.