CHANDLER, Ariz. - A Valley teen dealing with unimaginable heartbreak, as both of her parents have died from COVID-19, less than a day apart.
The teen's father, Tony Velasquez, was the president of the Chandler High swim team's booster club. Velasquez died after spending nearly two weeks in the hospital, and his wife died less than 12 hours later. The deaths left Velasquez's daughter, 17-year-old Brisa, devastated, and a community shaken.
"It’s just completely unbelievable, and it is so sad," said Rachael Tribby. "I mean, can you imagine? I think we were all just kind of holding our breath when we found out they went to the hospital."
COVID-19 has torn apart many families, including several families with the Chandler High School swim team. Earlier in 2020, the team lost their head coach, Kerry Croswhite, to the virus.That was a loss that fellow board member Rachel Tribby says Tony was quick to help the team through, encouraging them to keep swimming
"Tony was larger-than-life charismatic," said Tribby. "He wanted to make sure we stayed focused, especially the seniors, to make sure they would be able to still enjoy this year, despite all the hurdles that they had been facing."
Tribby says that’s exactly what Tony would want now for the team and his daughter: to just keep swimming.