Our dear friend, Gretchen Wienenga (Kling), needs some support to help pay her bills while she recovers from a traumatic accident that occured on July 26th, 2015. Gretchen was walking on a public sidewalk while visiting San Diego with her daughter, Emma, when a Eucalyptus tree fell on her. It knocked her to the ground, leaving her unconscious, and then landed on the back of her head. She was holding and protecting her dog, Comet, while this happened. The tree was so heavy that it had Gretchen pinned down for some time until paramedics were able to remove her from under the tree. She was taken to the UCSD trauma center where she stayed for the night and next day. It was determined that she had a serious concussion and soft tissue damage on the left side of her body. Fortunately, Comet was not injured in the accident.
NBC San Diego News Story
Gretchen has not recovered as quickly as we would have hoped, and the effects of the blow to the head and trauma to her body are still uncertain. She is not able to walk without the help of a walker. Even with the walker, she can only stand for one to two minutes. Gretchen is unable to drive, work, or take Comet on walks. She is struggling with the concussion symptoms and is having severe pain and tingling in her legs and on both sides of her upper body down to her lumbar spine. She went in for an MRI on August 9th to see if it can be determined as to why she is having so much pain. We are still waiting for the results on that.
Gretchen has been working as a Physical Therapy Assistant for close to 20 years. Before the accident, Gretchen was doing Home Health with patients that have been discharged out of St. Joseph's Hospital in the Irvine area. Her job requires that she drives all day, making home visits to her clients who are primarily elderly and needing physical therapy rehabilitation services. She loves her work, because she is able to help her clients recover overall health and mobility. In order for Gretchen to resume work, she needs to be able to lift at least 100 lbs., drive, and have full physical and mental capability. She is now receiving help from Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists in her own home. She is appreciative of the help, but is eager to be back at her Home Health Physical Therapy job.
Gretchen lives in Irvine with her daughter, Emma. She has always been very independent and capable of providing a good life for them both. She moved to Irvine from Coloma, a small town in Northern California, two years ago for work opportunities and so that her daughter can go to one of the best high schools in the state, University High School. Emma is enjoying her new life in Irvine and competes in dancing and cheerleading. She starts high school in two weeks.
Gretchen has not been able to receive any disability assistance at this point. She does have medical insurance, however, needs financial assistance due to having no current income. Our goal in raising funds is that she can stay in her current home and have money for her basic needs for the next few months.
Gretchen wants nothing more than to be back at work doing what she loves to do, helping people. She is feeling stressed by the uncertainty of her financial situation and having her life suddenly turned upside down. It is our hope that she won't have to make any drastic changes and can instead focus her energy on her recovery. Please help financially and/or with your loving thoughts and words.
Thanks for your support,
Anna Njoten and Amanda Morozumi
- Joe Biggin
- Scott Ozawa
- Dan Wang
Organizer and beneficiary
Anna Christman Njoten
South Lake Tahoe, CA