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BELTON, Mo. — What started off as cold-like symptoms turned into a domino effect of life changing events for the Brents’ family.

“He was a kind, gentle, loving soul,” Karla Bardwell, Friend of Darin Brents, said. “He liked to make his kids laugh, his wife smile.”

Darin Brents, a father of two, was taken to the emergency room at a rural hospital near his Warsaw home.

Days later he was transferred to Research Medical Center where he died from the coronavirus.

“His oxygen levels kept dropping,” Bardwell said. “After 3 to 4 days he was placed on a ventilator. Two days after the ventilator he was placed on life support and had a heart catheter put in. “And on Friday he had bleeding from the brain and the wife was asked to pull him from life support.” 

His wife, Diane Brents, was there during his last few breaths.

His teenage kids were outside in the car not able to say goodbye.

“They’re having a very hard time,” Bardwell said. “They’re very upset, they’re very hurt, they’re trying to handle their emotions.”

Brent’s’ story is no stranger to medical professionals throughout the metro.

Steve Hoeger said the number of patients being transferred from rural communities are growing.

“They’re where we were a number of weeks ago or months ago, where they had low numbers and now they are starting to see higher numbers,” Steve Hoeger, Mid-America Regional Council, said.

He said overtime rural hospitals have learned how to take care of patients with mild symptoms, but it is still important for people to follow safety protocols.

“Early on they didn’t have the equipment and stuff that are the preferred treatment,” Hoeger said. “As they are holding these patients longer they’ve now been gaining equipment and its putting them in a better position to hold them.”

Now Bardwell is speaking for this family in hopes to raise awareness and bring them some holiday cheer this year.

“It hits home,” Bardwell said. “Once you know somebody it hits home.”

Bardwell created a GoFundMe to help the family.