Minnesotans have spurred donations of nearly $10,000 to help support a 6-year-old boy whose father died from COVID-19 three days before Christmas.
Jesse Clifton died at the age of 39 after what his family described as a "hard-fought, month-long battle in the ICU."
He died from "virus-related complications," according to a GoFundMe that aims to raise $50,000 to help pay for funeral expenses, medical bills and to start a savings account for his son.
"Jesse’s greatest accomplishment and proudest moment was when his son, Connor, was born in 2014. Always wanting to be a dad, Jesse shared with Connor the many loves he had as a child; fishing, playing sports, riding bike, going up to the cabin, and his love for food!" the GoFundMe story reads.
Clifton is described as a "lovable force" with a "booming voice, captivating laughter and unique ability to make all feel welcome."
He was also a force on the football field, where he played defense at Buffalo High School with a tenacious attitude that is best remembered by family for the time he refused to come out of a game after breaking his finger.
"His love of playing football transformed into a passionate support for the MN Vikings," the fundraiser explains. "A love (nay, obsession) he shared with his mother. He watched every Sunday surrounded by good food, good friends… and occasionally, good outcomes by the Vikes."
Clifton is among the 5,160 Minnesotans to have died from COVID-19, though he is one of only 39 Minnesotans under the age of 40 to die from the disease, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Health.