Minneapolis airport worker saved by coworkers, supported by frie - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Minneapolis airport worker saved by coworkers, supported by friends

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Living in Abbott Northwestern Hospital minutes can feel like hours, and the days often run together. On April 14, 47-year old Wendy Kichler was working at her new job at the ticket counter for Frontier Airlines. Her daughter, Melinda Kichler, also works at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and remembers a coworker running for help.

“She was having heart attack symptoms," Melinda said. "She couldn't breathe, she said her chest was tight arm started going numb. She fainted and got sick,”

Dr. Kevin Harris points out thankfully the doctors at United Hospital realized Wendy wasn’t having a heart attack, but a sudden aortic dissection. The biggest blood vessel in her heart had torn.

The exact cause  is unknown, but most commonly hypertension, high blood pressure or smoking can be big factors.

“The symptoms are severe and sudden onset of chest of back pain. But the pain can be anywhere,” said Dr. Harris, cardiologist at Abbott Northwestern. “It can be in your abdomen, your neck, leg because your aorta goes through entire body… pain can manifest anywhere but most commonly with severe chest pain.”

Since April 14, Wendy’s condition has been complicated by three heart surgeries, two strokes, and an LVAD put in her chest.

“I was a sleep in an induced coma… so I don't remember all the stuff that went down,” Wendy said. “All I know is I went down”

Still, the love in Wendy’s damaged heart is strong. She’s clearly touched by a benefit and celebration of life her daughter is planning in her honor.

“Awesome, awesome I have the best kid in the world, and the best friends in the world,” Wendy said. “I don't know what I would do without her or those friends.”

“She's proved she's not giving up yet and I'm not giving up on her," Melinda said. “We've come this far and I'm going to do what I can do for her.”

Celebration of Life Benefit for Wendy Kichler
Saturday, July 8, 2014
2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
American Legion Post 39
2678 East 7th Avenue
North Saint Paul, MN 55109


There will be silent and live auction, drawings, bake sale, food and more. Admission is $10. All donations and support will go to help with medical costs and post-op care for Wendy.

For more information you can go to www.caringbridge.com/visit/wendykichler and www.gofundme.com/help-Wendy. You can also donate at Wells Fargo to Team Wendy Donation Fund

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