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DU soccer grad helping fight COVID-19 as CNA

Mary DeWalt played five seasons on the Pioneers' defensive line before graduating in December.

DENVER — In a matter of months, Mary DeWalt went from the back line of the Pioneers defense to the front lines at UCHealth.

"I definitely didn’t think that I’d be where I am right now. In this situation, after going through five years of college and soccer," the former DU soccer standout said.

"It's been absolutely amazing. I’m super grateful that I’m able to help and go to work every day."

As a girl, DeWalt dreamed of pursuing a career in healthcare.

After graduating from the University of Denver in December, she went through an accelerated program to become a Certified Nurses Assistant. 

"My starting date was kind of when things started blowing up with the coronavirus. Our floor was actually not a COVID-19 unit right away. We actually just transitioned to being a COVID-19 unit," she explained.

DeWalt isn’t working with patients in critical condition, but she knows her work is critical in their recovery. 

"You’re there for them. You’re there for them to get healthy, and back to their families," she said.

"Obviously, it's hard right now in the hospitals not having visitors. I can be that person that can go into the rooms and give them a face and someone to talk to."

Hospital patients are excited to have DeWalt on the front lines, but what do her parents think?

"I talk with my mom on my way home from work every day, but I think my parents are just in general proud. And worried -- but they know I’m taking the taking all the steps I need to take," she said.

The next step for DeWalt is grad school. Her goal is to become a licensed physicians assistant. As she continues to work on the front lines.

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