Alumni Couple Fight and Beat COVID-19

April 23, 2020


  • Dakota McDonald majored in business administration, while Morgan McDonald majored in special education - severe and profound disabilities.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - “March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb,” the popular expression says. 

For Winthrop University business administration graduate Dakota McDonald ’18, the month of March started with flu-like symptoms: a 102 degree fever, body shakes, cough and fatigue. His wife, fellow Winthrop graduate Morgan Barradale McDonald ’17, insisted he go to the doctor immediately, especially since their 5-month-old son, Wells, had been around him. 

A week later, Morgan got the call: “Your husband is positive for COVID-19.” 

“We were in utter disbelief,” Morgan said. “How could this happen to us, and where did [Dakota] get it? We had not traveled. This brought such a mix of emotions and fear to our little household.” 

That fear grew astronomically when Wells developed a high fever.

“As I spent hours in the ER pacing back and forth and praying over my little one, all I could think about was how precious his little life was and how resilient his body would need to be in order to fight this,” Morgan said. “I prayed so hard that it was just his little two teeth coming in, and that’s what was causing his symptoms.”

Instead, DHEC was soon on the phone again – Wells had also tested positive. Meanwhile, Morgan began feeling ill as well.

The 18 following days were the longest the McDonald family has ever known. They battled the virus with fever reducers and rest. Their church family left meals and games on their front porch.

‘Never think you are invincible’

The McDonalds, who reside in Chapin, South Carolina, said they have learned so much from their victorious fight against COVID-19.

“Never think you are invincible to anything,” said Morgan, who majored in special education with an emphasis on severe and profound disabilities. “You never know how young, old or, in our case, in our healthy 20s, how life can take a sudden toll. We can’t take one moment for granted.”

The experience has made her desire quality time with loved ones more than ever, she added.

“We have been positive through this whole process, because that is the only way to truly survive such a pandemic,” she said. “We have healed and are beyond grateful.”

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