Following Up: Shane Peoples calls reaction to story of his parents overwhelming, heartwarming, stressful

Parents died two weeks ago, holding hands, within four minutes of each other from COVID-19

Salisbury couple's tragic story could be saving lives

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Two weeks ago today, the parents of Shane Peoples both died within four minutes of each other from COVID-19. They were holding hands as they passed away.

Since then, the reaction to that story has been overwhelming.

When you hear that a certain number of people have died from COVID-19, Shane Peoples says you need to think beyond those numbers.

“They’re not numbers, they’re people," Peoples said. "And it’s been a blessing that they’re not numbers, they aren’t pushed in and considered just another number.”

Johnny Lee Peoples, 67, and wife Cathy Darlene Peoples, 65, were married for 48 years, and they left this life they way they lived it, hand in hand. As their time came to an end two weeks ago today, the staff at the Novant Health Rowan Medical Center moved the couple into the same room so they could comfort each other.

Now their story is known well beyond Rowan County. People magazine, Newsweek, the New York Times, New York Post, CBS News, ABC News, Fox, and so many more outlets have covered the story.

“It’s been overwhelming," Peoples said. "People from all over the world are sending messages, sorry for our loss and that they’re praying for us…very heartwarming too.”

But by going public with his parent’s story, he’s met many others dealing with the same issue, and in some ways, that’s been stressful.

“They’re trying to cope as well," Peoples said.

He’s also hoping that people will learn from his pain that, as he said before, not everyone gets over COVID-19.

“It’s not a hoax, it’s not a joke, there’s too many people out there who think it’s fake and they don’t care about wearing a mask.”

Shane believes that by sharing the story of his parents, that it has encouraged many to take precautions against the virus.

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