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2 respiratory therapists cancel their wedding and now work long hours to keep people with COVID-19 breathing

They are in charge of intubating the sickest patients, and hooking them up to ventilators.

COLORADO, USA — If someone needs help breathing, Jaquen and Nicolle Stoops will help. 

They are both respiratory therapists (RT) for Centura Health at different hospitals in the Denver metro area.

“We assist with putting in artificial airways," said Jaquen Stoops, a supervisor at Littleton Adventist and Castle Rock Adventist Hospitals. "We run the mechanical ventilators." 

They see the sickest patients with COVID-19 throughout the hospital, from the acute care floors to the ICU. 

"This is unlike any other thing we've seen in the past," said Jaquen Stoops.

Credit: Jaquen Stoops

They are doing the same job they've always done, but a lot more of it. 

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“I don’t know what I would do without him," said Nicolle Stoops, an RT at Parker Adventist Hospital and National Jewish Health. "He is an amazing support system."

Credit: Nicolle

The two eloped last year to get legally married and decided to save up money for a wedding. 

"Our wedding was scheduled to happen on [April 28]," said Jaquen Stoops. “So next week we were supposed to be having a big ceremony with all our friends and family." 

They canceled their wedding and are instead working long hours treating COVID-19 patients. 

“Honestly, at the end of the day, I’m grateful we have each other in this," said Jaquen Stoops. "There’s been people that have lost a family member.” 

“We have our jobs," said Nicolle Stoops. "I know there are so many people out there worried about how they’re going to pay their mortgage or pay groceries."

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Jaquen and Nicolle Stoops said they are grateful for the sacrifices other people are making. They said they feel lucky to keep people breathing together. 

“We know that we are blessed at the end of the day," said Jaquen Stoops.

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