Yehl Love Fund

$71,128 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 622 people in 16 months
Nichole Golden Avery
on behalf of Dane-Carter Yehl
 NAPA, CA
Our beloved Nicole had a massive stroke and had to have brain surgery. She is currently in ICU and she and Dane have a long road ahead of them. We want to do everything we can to shower them with love and support. They are going to be facing medical bills and long-term rehab, amongst countless other financial, physical and emotional challenges in the days, months and years to come. Every penny we raise will help to keep them capable of taking on this life challenge and getting Nicole better. Our strong girl has made incredible progress so far! Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers so that she can continue to heal. Let's show our love for this incredible couple and as a community help to lift them up during this time. Let's make sure they know that they are not alone.
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An update from Dane:

Today marks the one year anniversary of Nicole’s recovery. The last 12 months have been spent trying to push the thought of this life changing event out of my head, but I have spent the last few days reflecting on not only the challenges she has faced, but also the many victories she has earned.
Nicole’s recovery this far has been nothing short of miraculous. From the first day of being told that she had no chance of recovery and being paralyzed on her right side, to watching her take her first steps three days later and sing “Happy Birthday” a week after that. Early on, I watched as she struggled to identify and name every-day objects and process the logical steps needed to prepare a meal. Each day has presented a new challenge and with it the emotional and psychological struggles that go along with surviving something so debilitating. Through it all, Nicole has handled it with all the grace and composure that her friends and family have come to expect.
Nicole continues to make small steps in her speech. The location of the stroke was focused primarily on the part of the brain that processes speech and language. In the last six months her comprehension has greatly improved. Six months ago we were not really able to communicate outside of her using a few words to describe what she wanted, or how she felt. Now I can tell a story and she is able to pick up on and respond to most of what I am saying. Her most recent therapy session was focused on the correct use of “who, what, when, where, why”. Speaking a little slower and allowing her to process the information that is being shared is very helpful. Finding the right words to express herself is still difficult and she will continue to do 8 hours of private therapy a week for as long as we continue to see progress. She just wrapped up her second 3 week intensive program at Craig Hospital catering specifically to patients with Aphasia. I plan to enroll her in the same program this Spring. We have been fortunate to find a private speech pathologist who comes twice a week and works with Nicole at our home. Nicole also continues to work with graduate students every Monday at the University of Colorado in their Speech Language & Pathology Department, all while supplementing her weekly therapy sessions at St. Joseph’s in Denver.
Thank you again to all our friends and family that have supported us over the last year. This would not have been possible without you. We were told early on that this was not going to be a sprint around the block, it was going to be a marathon at full speed. I am in shock that it has already been a year, but grateful that we are already a few miles in. Thank you for all the love.
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An update from Dane:

Today marks the one year anniversary of Nicole’s recovery. The last 12 months have been spent trying to push the thought of this life changing event out of my head, but I have spent the last few days reflecting on not only the challenges she has faced, but also the many victories she has earned.
Nicole’s recovery this far has been nothing short of miraculous. From the first day of being told that she had no chance of recovery and being paralyzed on her right side, to watching her take her first steps three days later and sing “Happy Birthday” a week after that. Early on, I watched as she struggled to identify and name every-day objects and process the logical steps needed to prepare a meal. Each day has presented a new challenge and with it the emotional and psychological struggles that go along with surviving something so debilitating. Through it all, Nicole has handled it with all the grace and composure that her friends and family have come to expect.
Nicole continues to make small steps in her speech. The location of the stroke was focused primarily on the part of the brain that processes speech and language. In the last six months her comprehension has greatly improved. Six months ago we were not really able to communicate outside of her using a few words to describe what she wanted, or how she felt. Now I can tell a story and she is able to pick up on and respond to most of what I am saying. Her most recent therapy session was focused on the correct use of “who, what, when, where, why”. Speaking a little slower and allowing her to process the information that is being shared is very helpful. Finding the right words to express herself is still difficult and she will continue to do 8 hours of private therapy a week for as long as we continue to see progress. She just wrapped up her second 3 week intensive program at Craig Hospital catering specifically to patients with Aphasia. I plan to enroll her in the same program this Spring. We have been fortunate to find a private speech pathologist who comes twice a week and works with Nicole at our home. Nicole also continues to work with graduate students every Monday at the University of Colorado in their Speech Language & Pathology Department, all while supplementing her weekly therapy sessions at St. Joseph’s in Denver.
Thank you again to all our friends and family that have supported us over the last year. This would not have been possible without you. We were told early on that this was not going to be a sprint around the block, it was going to be a marathon at full speed. I am in shock that it has already been a year, but grateful that we are already a few miles in. Thank you for all the love.
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An update from Dane:

Yesterday was the 6 month anniversary of Nicole’s stroke. Since my last update, she has been regularly attending hour long speech therapy sessions twice a week and occupational therapy every two weeks at St. Joseph’s. Her condition has improved to the point where she no longer needs to go to physical therapy. One out of three disciplines down! Nicole has also attended two Adult Intensive Speech Therapy sessions with the University of Colorado Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic. One in the Spring, one in the Summer and will be joining again this fall through the winter holiday.
Early on the doctors expressed that her recovery would not be a constant trajectory upward. Progress seems to be more incremental especially in comparison to milestones that were reached early on. Due to my work schedule I have not had the opportunity to go to many of her therapy sessions. However, the most obvious improvement is that she is beginning to speak in more complete sentences instead of single word utterances. Her brother Neil had this to say, “3 to 4+ word phrases are becoming easier and more fluid for her.” Her use of “Pronouns (eg. he, she, them, etc.), for example, are much more accurate. Past, present and future tense seem to be making more sense for her. Conjunctions and other small words (eg. if, it, is, etc.) are still the biggest hurdle and the main thing standing in the way of more fluid conversation. Her brain is like a really unorganized file cabinet. The file with the word she is looking for is in there, but it's not labeled or in any discernable order so she has to open a lot of files before she finds the one she needs. In therapy, she is creating new neural pathways to essentially reorganize the filing cabinet. As time moves on and more pathways are created, her speech will become more organized and fluid.”

Last week we exhausted her covered therapeutic benefit through her insurance provider. Now that we have started paying out of pocket, we were able to sit down and talk with both her current doctor at Kaiser and her former doctor at Craig about her therapy regimen going forward. The original plan was to get her back to Craig, but after discussing with her doctors we decided to continue regular hour long therapy sessions with St. Joe’s while simultaneously enrolling her in an intensive 3 week speech therapy program at Craig Hospital that caters specifically to patients with Aphasia. We are also considering supplementing her therapies at St. Joe’s with a private speech pathologist. Nicole continues to respond well to different therapeutic approaches.
Over the last month Nicole has expressed to her family that she wanted more therapy. Our decision to enroll her at Craig was based on discussions with her doctors that they have seen improved recoveries in Aphasiac patients whose therapy consisted of intensive, longer duration sessions. We enrolled her last week for the three week program at Craig and after her first week she has come home every day exhausted from working so hard. She has the desire to improve and get better so I think this was an excellent decision and an appropriate challenge given her current condition. At $8000 this was also the largest chunk of money that was taken out of the donations that have been made thus far. If she responds well to this treatment, which according to her doctors is probable, we most likely will enroll her in subsequent sessions.
The initial shock has worn off and Nicole has had many ups and downs coming to grips with this complex and confusing situation that she now finds herself in. My goal is to get her back involved in things that she loved doing before the stroke to help take her mind off the task at hand. We are looking in to yoga, art classes and music therapy. She has started going to Pilates with Debbie and the other weekend pulled all of her jewelry making materials out, and in typical Nicole fashion, was making jewelry till 1:00 am. I told her the doctors probably wouldn’t be too happy with her staying up so late, but I am glad to see her getting back in to the things that she enjoyed.
I really cannot say enough how grateful I am to everyone that has reached out to us during this time. The overwhelming amount of emotional and financial support has been amazing! I have wanted to send “Thank You” notes to every person that has helped in some way, but with everything else going on it’s difficult to find the time to do so. Please know that if you have reached out to me or my family that it has not gone unnoticed and has been a tremendous help to us as we navigate through this.
The Harrells, Mizkes and Giarratanos have put together a golf tournament to benefit Nicole’s recovery on September 25th at Rolling Hills Golf Course. If you are interested in playing or donating you can find more information on the website www.yehllove.com. Nicole and I would love to see you out there!
Thank you for your continued love and support!
Dane Yehl
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An update from Dane on Nicole's progress!

On March 27th, Nicole was discharged from Craig Hospital and returned back to her home in Denver. She has begun her “out-patient” therapy schedule with Kaiser and St. Joseph’s and the plan as of now, will be to return to Craig once she exhausts her covered benefit through Kaiser. Though I had previously voiced my opposition to what seemed like an early discharge date, I came to a different realization when I began to notice Nicole’s progress in comparison to some of the other patients at the hospital.
Craig Hospital assists in the rehabilitation of those suffering from severe brain and spinal cord injuries. It’s a very humbling experience walking around the facility and seeing some of the hardships that these people and their families are dealing with on a daily basis. While many of Craig’s patients are confined to wheelchairs and struggle to perform some of the most basic functions, Nicole on the other hand has made incredible progress given the earlier prognosis.
In seven weeks, she has gone from being unable to stand and move her right side to regaining full control in her right leg and partial control in her hand. She struggles with fine motor control and finds it difficult to grab and hold on to things with her right hand. From a physical standpoint, she is vastly improved.
I have seen a few pictures that have been circulating on Facebook and Instagram that show Nicole in street clothes with friends, with a smile on her face and doing what looks like, very normal things. I know many people who are not in direct contact with me, or the rest of her family, have probably been relying on these social media updates to monitor Nicole’s progress. I don’t want to downplay the recovery that we have seen so far in 7 weeks, but I also want to make it clear that these pictures are only a snapshot of her rehabilitation thus far and only scratch the surface of the challenges that she has ahead of her.
As the weeks pass, she has become frustrated at times due to her inability to “find her words”, express herself to those around her and make sense of the situation that she is in. She is struggling with speech and is able to utter one word responses. Her utilization of the correct word is inconsistent and finding the correct word association with objects and daily tasks is something that she is constantly working on. We are working with her in beginning to use full sentences. She is relearning how to speak and in many senses, relearning the English language. This will take time. Her situation is not as simple as "I had a stroke, I lost the language portion of my brain and am having trouble talking, but I will get it all back." It's much more complex than that and we are only beginning to understand this.
On the outside she looks and behaves quite normal, but after talking with her therapists before leaving Craig, it won’t be until she is able to tie sentences together and truly express herself that we will know the true extent of the cognitive damage caused by the stroke.
Since being discharged from Craig, we have been monitoring Nicole’s blood sugars very closely. When she was in the hospital she was experiencing dangerous highs and lows. Insulin levels have been adjusted numerous times and carbohydrate counting is and will continue to be, an essential part of effective meal planning in order to better monitor this. Her close friends and family have been trained on the administration of her insulin and we hope to get her on an insulin pump in the coming weeks to better manage her Type 1 diabetes.
Craig Hospital has been amazing and set us up with a program through the University of Colorado’s Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Department that pairs people suffering from Aphasia with graduate students and instructors. It’s a five week program on Mondays and Wednesdays. We are looking forward to bringing her back to her Alma Mater for a few final English classes! Over the last two weeks we have also completed the transfer from in-patient rehabilitation at Craig Hospital to out-patient rehabilitation at St. Joseph Hospital through Kaiser.
Nicole loves to have visitors and I am beyond grateful to everyone for all their love and support. We continue to welcome friends and family in to our home and if you would like to stop by and see her, please let me know. Someone is with her 24/7 so we can work around most schedules as long as it does not interfere with her therapy sessions. As the weeks pass, I will make a point to send out updates on the GoFundMe page so that those that are interested can continue to monitor her progress.
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Read a Previous Update
Dane Yehl
15 months ago
1
1

Nicole had her second successful surgery yesterday to reattach her skull flap. She will no longer have to wear her helmet when she is out of the bed! We received word last week from our doctor at Craig that they wanted to keep her as an "in-patient" at Craig till April 19th. We were happy with that news as insurance should cover this. Once we become "out-patient", she is able to go home, but will still require therapy and rehab. The downside is you no longer under the 24 hour care and supervision of the hospital, but she will require the same treatments. Our insurance provider will only cover a maximum of 20 therapy sessions once Nicole becomes an "out-patient". To put things in to perspective, she currently goes to 4 therapy sessions a day, so needless to say these covered sessions will be used up in about a week and we will quickly begin to pay out of pocket. We want her to stay "in-patient" as long as possible. Late last week we received word from Craig that our insurance provider was pushing back on the discharge date and that the date had been moved up to March 27th. This is 10 days post brain surgery! We are not excited by this news and are working to extend, but we are at the mercy of the insurance company. This is the first time I have been able to witness from my own account, the hotly debated topic of health care in this country. One would think that a doctors recommendation would not be contested and would be based on "best practice", many years of medical experience and grounded in the idea of overall well being for the patient. Unfortunately our insurance case manager, who is not a doctor, feels differently on the discharge date. We are taking it one step at a time and I want to thank everyone again for their donations, support and love. Nicole's rehabilitation will take months, maybe years, of intensive speech, physical and occupational therapy. Every dollar that is raised is going directly to getting her back to where she needs to be. I wish I could personally thank each and every one of you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Dane Yehl
15 months ago

I am at a loss for words to see the amount of support that Nicole and I have received through this campaign! I wish I could personally thank each and everyone of you that took the time and felt compelled to contribute. We are so fortunate to have your support! Today is the 3 week mark. The initial prognosis was not good and we were faced with some very tough decisions early on. Fortunately, her surgery went well and she continues to make huge strides. She is in a stable condition at one of the best facilities in the country for in-patient rehabilitation for those suffering from brain injuries. From what the doctors have told us, she will remain at the hospital for at least another month and then will move to out-patient rehab where she will be able to come home while still attending therapy sessions. She continues to amaze her doctors and us every day with her remarkable progress. I want to thank everyone that took the time and continues to take the time to pray and send her good energy. This is not a journey that will be short lived, or easy, and she needs her friends and family more than ever. Thank you! Dane Yehl

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$71,128 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 622 people in 16 months
Created February 15, 2017
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CB
$40
Celeste Berke
24 days ago

From one ChiO sister to another- Thinking of you during this recovery.

SR
$50
Sean Renton
1 month ago

Love you guys! I pray that you may find peace, love and healing in Jesus name Amen!

SZ
$20
Sherry Zolnosky
2 months ago

Much Positive Healing energy already sent your way!! HUGGLES

AS
$100
Adam and Ashley Sinton
4 months ago

Sending you lots of love❤️

RA
$100
Ruth Anderson
4 months ago

Thinking of you two on your brave journey. Your courage and perseverance is extraordinary and beyond inspirational. Love you always.

EM
$50
Emmy Mitchell
4 months ago

Love you guys!

Dane Yehl
15 months ago
1
1

Nicole had her second successful surgery yesterday to reattach her skull flap. She will no longer have to wear her helmet when she is out of the bed! We received word last week from our doctor at Craig that they wanted to keep her as an "in-patient" at Craig till April 19th. We were happy with that news as insurance should cover this. Once we become "out-patient", she is able to go home, but will still require therapy and rehab. The downside is you no longer under the 24 hour care and supervision of the hospital, but she will require the same treatments. Our insurance provider will only cover a maximum of 20 therapy sessions once Nicole becomes an "out-patient". To put things in to perspective, she currently goes to 4 therapy sessions a day, so needless to say these covered sessions will be used up in about a week and we will quickly begin to pay out of pocket. We want her to stay "in-patient" as long as possible. Late last week we received word from Craig that our insurance provider was pushing back on the discharge date and that the date had been moved up to March 27th. This is 10 days post brain surgery! We are not excited by this news and are working to extend, but we are at the mercy of the insurance company. This is the first time I have been able to witness from my own account, the hotly debated topic of health care in this country. One would think that a doctors recommendation would not be contested and would be based on "best practice", many years of medical experience and grounded in the idea of overall well being for the patient. Unfortunately our insurance case manager, who is not a doctor, feels differently on the discharge date. We are taking it one step at a time and I want to thank everyone again for their donations, support and love. Nicole's rehabilitation will take months, maybe years, of intensive speech, physical and occupational therapy. Every dollar that is raised is going directly to getting her back to where she needs to be. I wish I could personally thank each and every one of you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you!

+ Read More
Dane Yehl
15 months ago

I am at a loss for words to see the amount of support that Nicole and I have received through this campaign! I wish I could personally thank each and everyone of you that took the time and felt compelled to contribute. We are so fortunate to have your support! Today is the 3 week mark. The initial prognosis was not good and we were faced with some very tough decisions early on. Fortunately, her surgery went well and she continues to make huge strides. She is in a stable condition at one of the best facilities in the country for in-patient rehabilitation for those suffering from brain injuries. From what the doctors have told us, she will remain at the hospital for at least another month and then will move to out-patient rehab where she will be able to come home while still attending therapy sessions. She continues to amaze her doctors and us every day with her remarkable progress. I want to thank everyone that took the time and continues to take the time to pray and send her good energy. This is not a journey that will be short lived, or easy, and she needs her friends and family more than ever. Thank you! Dane Yehl

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