Huntington pastor getting through tragedy with the support of fa - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Huntington pastor getting through tragedy with the support of family, friends

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Bryan Cantrell's life was turned upside down three months ago.

"That evening as she was putting the kids to bed she said she felt dizzy and kind of collapsed and was unresponsive," said Bryan Cantrell.

On the night before Mother's Day, Bryan's wife, Alissa, died of an enlarged heart. There were no warning signs.  Nobody knew she had the condition.  Alissa was 7 months pregnant with a baby girl.

"They were able to deliver the baby but the baby did not survive, baby Aubree died a couple days later just from brain inactivity."

Now Bryan is living life as a single parent.  He's the proud parent of the couple's other two children, Bryson and Adalyn.

"The scariest thing is how do I be a dad and a mom to a daughter, sons are easy I can handle him, but how do I do hair, how do I do the girl stuff."

Bryan said his kids keep him going.

Bryan is a family pastor at New Baptist Church, he said his faith in God, and his support in the church, are helping him get through the tragedy.

Many people from Bryan's church have stepped up to help, they are planning a big fundraiser.

"I couldn't do it without them, really," Bryan said.

Alissa was also very active in their church. She lead a youth bible study.

Hundreds of letters and cards have poured in since Alissa's death, many of the cards are from her students.

Bryan's family is now learning a new routine.  Alissa is gone, but her spirit is everywhere.

"I see her in both of them, I see her in Bryson's just carefree, he's a hugger, he just smiles and laughs, I see her in Adalyn's wisdom," he said.

Bryan's family will stay in their home - a home overflowing with memories of Alissa.

"We love it there we love this area, our families are close by which is helpful too, I am kind of anxious to see what God's going to do."

A fundraiser 5K run and walk is being held for the Cantrell family in Kanawha City on August 17th at 9 a.m.

The run will begin at CAMC memorial.

People interested should go to and they can register online or can print out a registration form and mail it to Anna Sutton at 3813 Virginia Ave SE, Charleston, WV 25304.

The fee to participate is $25 before race day then $30 on race day.

All proceeds will go to Bryan, Adalyn and Bryson.