BOONE, N.C. (WBTV) - The family of a 19-year-old Appalachian State University student who died from complications related to COVID-19 is raising money to create a scholarship to help high school students go to college.
Chad Dorrill died in late September. He was a sophomore and studying exercise science to become a physical therapist.
Family says the Chad Dorrill Memorial Scholarship Fund each year would award to two local high school seniors a scholarship to help them reach their dream of a college education.
Appalachian State Chancellor Sheri Everts shared a message about Dorrill’s death:
“Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, Parents, and Families, It is with the deepest sadness that I share with you that one of our students, Chad Dorrill, has died. The hearts of the entire Appalachian Community are with Chad’s family and loved ones during this profoundly difficult and painful time. Tributes shared by friends and loved ones show the positive impact Chad had on the communities he loved and called home, which included App State and Boone. Chad’s family has shared he had been diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month and suffered from later complications. Chad lived off-campus in Boone and all of his classes were online. When he began feeling unwell earlier this month, his mother encouraged him to come home, quarantine, and be tested for COVID-19. After testing positive for COVID-19 in his home county, he followed isolation procedures and was cleared by his doctor to return to Boone. It was after his return to Boone that he had additional complications, was picked up by his family and hospitalized. His family’s wishes are for the university to share a common call to action so our entire campus community recognizes the importance of following COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines,” Chancellor Everts wrote.
Dorrill’s mother, who described her son as “super healthy,” made a public post following her son’s death, in which she described how the virus affected her son.
“As our family suffers this incredible loss, we want to remind people to wear a mask and quarantine if you test positive even without symptoms," Dorrill’s mother wrote. "You have no idea who you can come in contact with that the virus affects differently. Chad was just incredibly tired for two weeks and little did we know it was secretly attacking his body in a way they have never seen before. The doctors said that Chad is the rarest 1-10,000,000 case but if it can happen to a super healthy 19-year-old boy who doesn’t smoke, vape, or do drugs, it can happen to anyone.”
According to Emily Lipe, the superintendent of Davidson County Schools, Dorrill was a 2019 graduate of Ledford Senior High in Thomasville.
“Chad Dorrill was a loved and well-respected member of the Ledford community and the Class of 2019," Lipe said in a statement. "He was an All-Conference basketball player during his years at LHS, who was both competitive and kind. He was enrolled at Appalachian State University in hopes of becoming a physical therapist. Our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy is extended to Chad’s family, friends, and the entire Ledford community.”
Tonia Maxcy, a teacher at Ledford High and a close friend of the Dorrill family described Chad as a “kind and gentle soul…that kid that brings kindness back to the surface where it should be.”
Maxcy saw Chad on Monday. She said that when it comes to the fact that he died from COVID-19, “...he gives us a face, he gives us a life, and that’s what’s important. Chad is our WHY."
App student Reese Yaudes says she grew up with him in Ledford and was on the sidelines as a cheerleader while Dorrill played basketball.
“He was the sweetest person I ever met,” she said, “He impacted a lot of people.” She says everyone in the App State community appears stunned by the death.
Dorrill wore the #10 when he played high school basketball for Ledford. On Monday night the scoreboard in the gym was turned on and the #10 was lit in each box.
The Piedmont Pacers made a post on social media saying they were devastated to learn that Dorrill died on Monday night. They say Dorrill was beloved by all his teammates and coaches.
“The Piedmont Pacers family is devastated to learn of the passing of Chad Dorrill, due to complications from COVID-19," the statement read. “This awful disease has taken this young man from everyone far too soon. Chad was an original member of the Piedmont Pacers and we first met him in 2013 after he and his family moved to North Carolina from Wisconsin. We quickly realized what a talented basketball player he was. Most importantly, Chad was beloved by all of his teammates and coaches and possessed all of the qualities that any parent would love to see in their child,” the Pacers said. “His parents, Robert and Susan, were a constant presence at Pacers games and their kindness and support helped to create a family-like atmosphere. Our hearts go out to them and we cannot imagine the pain they are going through right now,” the post read.
University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans also issued a statement about Dorrill’s death.
“Any loss of life is a tragedy, but the grief cuts especially deep as we mourn a young man who had so much life ahead. I ache for the profound sadness that Chad Dorrill’s family is enduring right now. My heart goes out to the entire Appalachian State community. Our country is grappling with this continuing crisis on a scale that is difficult to comprehend. That does not diminish the acute pain we feel alongside Chad’s parents, family, and friends, the people whose loss is personal and irreplaceable. Chad’s family asked that this moment stand as a stark reminder of how Covid-19 is deadly serious for all of us, even for otherwise healthy young adults. We have a heightened duty to one another in these extraordinarily trying times, and we all need to remain vigilant. I join his family and Chancellor Everts in urging everyone to follow public health guidance by wearing a mask, washing hands, maintaining physical distance, and limiting gatherings,” Hans said.
In honor of Dorrill, the family has continued to ask all college students living on and off college campuses around the country to please continue to wear your masks and quarantine if positive or waiting for results.