Baywatch actor proposes to nurse who cared for him
A retired Baywatch actor who cheated death in a horror paragliding accident proposed to the kind nurse who treated him - in the same hospital room where they met.
Damien Leroy, 37, was seriously injured when his paragliding apparatus spun out of control forcing him to take a 100ft leap from the sky in Juniper, Florida, USA.
The former world champion kite boarder was rushed to St Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach in July 2016 where he met trauma team nurse Alex Hoover, 29.
Damien was lucky to survive the frightening accident, in which he shattered his femur, pelvis and sternum, tore an artery, punctured his lungs and broke four ribs.
The athlete felt an instant connection with Alex, but she had a boyfriend, and would not consider dating him initially, due to medical ethics.
But the pair remained in contact via text, and begin dating almost a year later, once Damien had been released from hospital.
When he began to consider marriage, Damien said he knew he wanted to ask Alex to be his wife in the very hospital room where they first met - #3212.
Damien, who played a small role in 2017's Baywatch remake, alongside Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, said: "You meet a lot of people in life but when you find someone truly special you have to go with it.
"I couldn't possibly meet a better person than Alex.
Nurses do so much for everyone and it's usually the doctors who get the credit.
"I decided to propose in the hospital because that's where I met Alex three years ago.
"After my accident, I had the most beautiful nurse.
I remember looking up at her and just seeing these beautiful blue eyes.
We had a special connection.
"Alex's best friend in work Dede Abbate helped me organize the proposal along with her manager Theresa Bubb Jones.
"They were really encouraging when it came to making this idea happen.
"We made sure it was a really quiet day and I got ready and went to the hospital.
I got into the bed in the same room I had been in all those years ago and just waited for her.
"They told Alex there was a new trauma that had arrived and that the patient was having abdominal pains.
"When she came in she was so surprised and confused to see me in bed.
"That's when I got out of the bed and got onto one knee.
I proposed with a really special family ring but I'm going to get her one that she really loves too." Alex, who is now a sports sales representative, added: "When I saw Damien's head underneath blankets laying in the patient bed.
I was in complete shock.
"So many things ran through my mind in seconds.
"And then that sweet, sweet man got out of bed and got down on one knee.
I said 'Yes'." Damien said: "When she was treating me, she was super professional, but I was so drugged up after the accident.
"I asked her if she had a boyfriend and she said 'Yes, and I love him dearly.'
"I was disappointed, because I felt like we had an instant connection.
"But I respected the fact that she had a boyfriend.
I would never want to get in the middle of that.
"I started focusing on my recovery which was a really long road, but I thought about her a lot.
"We started communicating again about a year after the accident and actually her relationship had come to an end a few months earlier.
"It kind of went from there.
We took it slow but we had this amazing connection.
"We started hanging out a lot and doing things together." Alex said: "I had never met a patient like him before.
"He was genuine in every way, always very thankful for all of the nurses, doctors, and hospital staff involved in his recovery.
"You always know when you meet that unique, special person that they will have a lasting effect on you, even if you didn't realize how at the time." The pair have yet to make any wedding plans, but Damien insists they won't be tying the knot in the hospital's chapel.
Damien said: "We haven't sat down and talked about the wedding but it definitely will not be in the hospital.
"Alex truly has the biggest heart of anyone I know and I'm excited to spend the rest of my life with her.
Alex added: "I have always thought of Damien as my sweet George of the Jungle.
"He's wild, kind-hearted, willing to do absolutely anything for anyone.
"I envision our wedding being a bunch of laughing, dancing, kite boarding over a bridge, paragliding over some dunes, or electric foiling as a first dance.
"But I definitely envision a fun, carefree wedding." To keep up with Damien visit http://damienleroy.com/