Ventilated and running for office. Not exactly.
On March 30, 2021, Wendell and his wife, Dr. Lisa Young, were at home. Lisa, a UCHealth audiologist, went into high gear when she realized that Wendell’s breathing was severely struggling. He had been diagnosed with COVID-19 the day before. Even though Wendell had oxygen at home, he significantly worsened on April 1. He was coughing up blood and Lisa took him back to Longs Peak Hospital where he stayed for 11 days, eight of which he was connected to a ventilator.
Lisa later told the Longs Peak Hospital Foundation that “Wendell’s survival was truly a testament to the UCHealth family.” Through the early days of diagnosis, neighbors Jill Postel, a UCHealth Physician’s Assistant, and Sean Menogan, a UCHealth MD, really helped. Wendell’s primary Intensive Care Unit doctor, Bryan Delgado, shared with Wendell, “You’re a fighter.”
Throughout, Wendell’s hospitalization and recovery, family friends rallied around the Youngs. Even with good insurance, major health events can cause financial crisis for families. The Young’s friends sold “Wendell for Mayor” t-shirts. Within three weeks, over $1,400 was raised. Family friend, Erica Medina, said that making and selling the t-shirts was a small way to try to help her friends. Another friend, Mara Brown, partnered with Erica and said that many people brighten up whenever they have the chance to talk with Wendell. Friends would occasionally tease him that he should run for mayor because he knew so many people and he was so well liked.
Dr. Delgado, Wendell’s pulmonologist, said that Wendell’s recovery was as close to a miracle as he has seen. Wendell was lifted up by his care team, family and friends. He and Lisa decided to donate the money raised to the Longs Peak Hospital Foundation for its Intensive Care Unit Fund. Wendell said that he is incredibly grateful for the nurses, physicians and equipment which saved his life.