ORLANDO, Fla. -- An entire Orlando family came down with COVID-19. Their loving father and husband did not survive, and the family is now asking people to donate plasma.
The Lawton family is heartbroken after losing their loving husband and father, Marvin Lawton. The 60-year-old died from COVID-19 on Easter Sunday.
Marvin's wife, Cecilia, and daughter, Briana, both tested positive for COVID-19. His son, Joshua, has symptoms. They're all recovering in their Orlando home in quarantine.
With the help of nurses, they said their final goodbyes on FaceTime.
"We couldn’t be at the hospital. We couldn’t hold his hand. We couldn’t sit in the room with him," Cecilia said. "There was so much we couldn’t do because of this virus and everything that’s happening."
The family said it's hard to grieve when they're physically suffering.
"I can’t get it out. I can’t mourn my father," Briana Lawton said. "This virus really wrecks you. I can’t cry. I can’t mourn right because my lungs just can’t. I gasp for air, and to know this is only part of what he went through makes it hard."
Marvin's other son, Matt Zeller, lives in Seattle, far away from the family. He's not infected.
"He never missed an opportunity to tell us he loved us and how proud he was," Zeller said.
Marvin Lawton went to the hospital on April 4 and he was put on a ventilator. On Easter morning, he was scheduled to have a plasma donation at 11 a.m., but died at 10:17 a.m.
"If we could have gotten it sooner, that could have been a game-changer," Briana said.
The Lawton family is seeing the devastation caused by COVID-19 firsthand and hopes others will donate plasma in their father's memory.
"We don’t want any other families to go through the heartbreak we’ve gone through as a family," Zeller said.
The family asked everyone to please stay home and stop the spread of the virus.
"Until your loved ones are fighting for their lives, or you’re fighting for your life, and you’re going to wish that you made different decisions along the way," Zeller said. "You’re going to wish you hadn’t gone out when you didn’t need to."