Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Family seeking donations after freak accident that paralyzed MN mom

It happened in a public park in Bemidji.

A Bagley, Minnesota, family is asking the public for help following a freak accident that left a local mom paralyzed this month. 

Alyssa Pfannenstein was with her boyfriend and daughter in Bemidji's Diamond Point Park on Sept. 3, when a tree fell on her and broke her neck, the Bemidji Pioneer reports

The paper says the couple had "unwittingly attached their hammock to a rotted tree, which uprooted and fell."

According to a GoFundMe donation page set up on Pfannenstein's behalf, the accident "shattered" her C5 vertebra (which gives the neck structural support and flexibility). 

She had to be airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, where she "underwent extensive surgery to remove the bone fragments and repair the damage done to her spine."

Now, she has "little mobility in her arms and that is it." 

An update on GoFundMe says she has also run into some complications (including hitting "a fever of 104" for unknown reasons this week), delaying her transfer to a rehab center. 

In the 10 days since it was launched, the fundraising effort has garnered more than $5,700. The goal is $25,000, which the page says will go toward Pfannenstein's family and medical bills. 

"Our thoughts and sympathies go out to Ms. Pfannenstein and her family," Marcia Larson, Bemidji parks and recreation director, told GoMN Friday. 

She also said that this "unfortunate incident is a good reminder that our natural environment in both our parks" and "public spaces" can be unpredictable. 

For that reason, Larson said, the department appreciates Pfannenstein and her boyfriend for "telling their story to promote more family safety in those public parks and spaces."

She added that her department does not encourage people to hang hammocks or other items from the city's trees. 

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

2nd period surge leads Wild to fourth straight win

With three goals in the second, the Wild blasted the last-place Coyotes.

Gopher Basketball / R.J. Stephens

Late-tip in helps Gophers pass first big test, improve to 6-0

Luke Loewe's bucket with 2.4 seconds remaining helped the Gophers stay undefeated.

ambulance

Man, 40, found dead stuck in air duct at his Otter Tail Co. home

The discovery was made by family members Monday morning.

Biden Minnesota visit stream screengrab - 11.30.31

What Biden said during his visit to Minnesota Tuesday

The president spoke at Dakota County Technical College.

Grand Marais

Cook County registers its first COVID-19 death of the pandemic

The sparsely populated, highly-vaccinated county has continuously had one of the lowest rates of COVID in the state.

Waits family screengrab CNN

Support for MN family after anti-maskers target child of school board chair

An online group opposing Kelsey Waits outed the child as transgender.

Pixabay - school - classroom

St. Paul schools add 2 days to winter break due to pandemic stress

The added days off are meant to acknowledge the stress the pandemic has caused.

Fardoussa Abdillahi

Charges: St. Cloud mother killed baby, placed him in dumpster

The 4-month-old baby was found by officers on Sunday morning.

ambulance

1 dead in crash at Lake Street intersection in south Minneapolis

There have been 465 deaths on Minnesota roads this year, according to the state's traffic division.

robbery

St. Paul restaurateur's businesses burglarized a 6th time

The owner of The Gnome and Hope Breakfast Bar is asking politicians to help St. Paul business owners.

North Memorial Air Care

Teen suffers life-threatening injuries in head-on crash in southern MN

The 18-year-old was airlifted to a Mayo Clinic hospital in Rochester.

foo fighters grohl mr rossi wikimedia

Foo Fighters abruptly cancel Gophers stadium show hours after announcing it

The band is looking for a new venue because of a disagreement over COVID protocols.

Related

Sam Lindquist

West-central Minnesota mom loses arm in tractor accident

Sam Lindquist was trying to mow a dirt bike trail for her sons.

Family's washing machine blows up, sends mom to ER

"If a child had been in front of it the outcome would have been deadly."

40064696_1560989401206905_r

Oakdale Cat fighting for life after being trapped in washing machine

"Felix" survived a 35-minute wash cycle but still has a long road to recovery.

Twin Cities family seeking help after son dies of CO poisoning

He was a DREAMer and health care worker who had graduated college in December.

Wounded protester Soren Stevenson.

Friends, family seeking help for injured Minneapolis protester

Soren Stevenson was hurt in a confrontation with police.