An Alabama woman is now caring for 12 children after her sister, Chantale McCall, a mother of five, passed away from complications of COVID-19.
Francesca McCall, who is already raising seven children, said she’s taken in Zariah 17, De Alvion, 15, Angel, 13, Trinity, 6, Serenity, 5, after her 34-year-old home healthcare worker younger sister died at UAB Hospital in Birmingham on September 16.
“She was the glue that kept everybody together,” McCall, 40, told Good Morning America about her sister. “She was strong in raising her kids. I loved that about her. We always used to talk about how if anything were to happen to her that we want all the children to stay together. Being that I’m the older sister… I was going to make sure not to separate them.”
McCall’s own children include La-Keria, 15, Ashanti, 14, Saaphyri, 13, Aniyah, 11, Trenton, 7, Heavenly, 4, Chayha, 1 and two additional adult sons who are currently not living with her.
McCall said her sister was hospitalized on September 1 after testing positive for the coronavirus. She also had bronchitis and asthma as underlying conditions.
Chantale McCall’s husband also died from complications of the virus on October 25, which would’ve been Chantale’s 35th birthday, according to Francesca.
“Being able to call her on the phone and talk to her about anything – I’m going to miss that, and us being together with the kids,” McCall said.
She continued: “It’s been ups and downs and chaos and loud. It doesn’t bother me. It’s just a change for them being together all the time.”
Chantale McCall’s job in insurance is allowing her to work from home so she’s able to balance career and home life.
Sandra McCall, Chantale’s mother, has also reportedly helped in raising the children while Carla McDonald, McCall’s friend, offered to sponsor them for Christmas. A GoFundMe campaign has since been started in order to raise money to help take care of the children. It’s already raised over $314,000 since launching five days ago.
“There’s love in that home,” McDonald told GMA. “Francesca has never complained. She has not asked for anything. You have to ask her, ‘What can I do?'”