Alabama woman raising 12 kids after her sister, brother-in-law die of COVID-19

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Francesca McCall and her younger sister Chantale had always promised to take care of each other’s kids if anything ever happened to either.

When Chantale died in September from COVID-19, her sister, who was already raising seven kids of her own, didn’t hesitate to welcome Chantale’s five children into her Birmingham, Alabama, home.


“We always said that we didn’t want our kids to be separated. We wanted our kids to stay together,” McCall, 40, told CNN.

The 12 children range in age from 1 to 17, and McCall, who’s a single mother, said living together has been a challenge.

“We have all the boys in one room and we have all the girls in the other two rooms, so everybody’s kind of just on top of one another,” she said. “So we’ve been making the best out of the situation.”

McCall said Chantale McCall was doing well when she was first hospitalized in Selma, where she lives, but her condition worsened and she was taken to a Birmingham hospital and put on a ventilator.

She died on September 16 and her husband, Rance Martin, died from the disease on October 25 — which would have been Chantale’s 35th birthday.

McCall said she and her mother and children had stayed with Chantale the weekend before she tested positive for COVID-19. Martin had been in and out of the hospital, but they didn’t know he had the virus until later.

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