Family vacation on Maui turns tragic after mother of two shatters vertebrae

Family vacation on Maui turns tragic after mother of two shatters vertebrae

MAKENA, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - [Update]

Arizona native Wendi Van Briesen died Saturday, July 19th after breaking her neck while body surfing on a Maui beach. She had been on life support since July 12th and, despite the prayers of family and friends, never regained consciousness.

The mother of two had been body surfing with her son at Paipu beach when an unexpected wave came and crashed on top of them. Her son was not hurt but Van Briesen suffered two shattered vertebrae.

[Original Story]

What was supposed to be a fun vacation on Maui turned tragic when a mother of two broke her neck after a wipe out six days ago.

Wendi Van Briesen was on vacation with her family when she went out swimming with her son near Little Beach in Makena and an unexpected larger wave came and pounded them both.

Wendi's son, Tanner, was unharmed, but the 42-year-old flight attendant suffered two shattered vertebrae. Her sister-in-law Lindsey, says Wendi is in a deep coma with brain scans showing no signs of activity.

"There are no words to describe it when you walk in and see her on a ventilator and you just wonder if she's gonna wake up from her coma." Lindsey said. "It's been absolutely awful for our family. To go on vacation in Hawaii for the first time and go straight from an airplane to a hospital, and wondering if she's gonna make it through."

Coincidentally, Lindsey says there's a 17-year-old in the hospital room next to Wendi's, who also broke his neck that same day at the same beach. He has reportedly regained feeling in his upper body, but not yet in his legs.

The Van Briesen family says they're praying for a miracle for Wendi, and in the meantime they have started a Go Fund Me page to help cover their mounting medical costs.

If you would like to make a monetary donation to help the Van Briesen family, click HERE.

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