A vacation to Hawaii turned tragic for an Arizona family when the mom died after being pummeled by a wave in the ocean.
42-year-old Wendi Van Briesen of Gilbert, Arizona went with her husband Aaron and their two children, 11-year-old McKenna and 13-year-old Tanner, on a dream vacation to Hawaii a little more than a week ago. Wendi was reportedly bodysurfing with her son when a massive wave took her under the water and knocked her unconscious.
"I don't know if she hit her head or it was whiplash,” Wendi’s sister-in-law Lindsey Van Briesen told 3TV. “Nobody knows what happened under that wave.”
When Aaron noticed that Wendi was unconscious, he quickly pulled her out of the water and began administering CPR. 20 minutes later, emergency responders arrived at the scene and rushed her to a local hospital where doctors told the family that she was in a coma after breaking C1 and C2 vertebrae. After some time in a coma and on life support, Wendi unfortunately died with her family by her side.
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"She broke her C1 and C2 vertebrae,” Lindsey Van Briesen said. “She was in a coma and on life support until this morning when she passed away. It's been awful. Luckily, they [her family] are so strong.”
While Wendi was on life support, a family member set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for her, but now that she’s died, the nearly $43,000 already raised is going to help the family with expenses.
“I want all of you to know again that through this most difficult week your prayers and well wishes have meant the world to me,” Aaron wrote in a post on his wife’s Facebook page. “Reading your 100’s of thoughts and posts are powerful testimony to Wendi’s enormous impact on so many people’s lives. I know many of us are struggling to come to terms with this tragedy. Yet... her unyielding faith made her know that things would be taken care of when it was time to leave. Please understand that our family is going to be OK. We are strengthened by The Lord above and know that it is in his plan.”