A husband and wife from Virginia died weeks apart after contracting COVID-19, leaving behind five children and one grandchild.
Kevin and Misty Mitchem, both in their 40s, fell ill last month, according to Fredericksburg-based newspaper The Free Lance–Star. Misty, 46, died on Sept. 23. Her husband, 48, died on Oct. 8.
The couple, whom the outlet reported met while in high school and were married for 17 years, leave behind their four children: Riley, 17; Leah, 14, and twins Taylor and Aiden, 11. Kevin also has a 22-year-old daughter named Angel from a previous relationship, whose son turns 2 next month.
Speaking with PEOPLE, Kevin’s brother Mike says that he hopes the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law will inspire others to take COVID-19 seriously and get vaccinated.
“I knew how deadly COVID could be so I went to my brother and asked him to please get vaccinated,” Mike tells PEOPLE. “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,” he continues, “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.”
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