This Sunday, May 24, Ethan Lund of Osakis is turning 16. He should be celebrating with his friends and family. He should be getting ready to get his driver’s license. He should be finishing his sophomore year at Osakis High School.
But he is not doing any of those things.
Instead, Lund is fighting for his life at a Twin Cities hospital after suffering from cardiac arrest on May 7. Yes, the 15-year-old who worked as a dishwasher at the Bowling Barn and Grill in Osakis, had a heart attack.
His family, including his dad and step-mom, Jason and Shanel Lund of Osakis, and his mom and step-dad, Kelsey and Nick Phillips of St. Cloud, are not really sure why Lund would have had a heart attack.
Shanel Lund said an MRI after the heart attack indicated he had cardiac channelopathies, which are genetic abnormalities in heart cell proteins that control heart electrical activity. She said it sounded like something he was probably born with.
However, on Wednesday, May 20, doctors told the family that Ethan more than likely does not have cardiac channelopathies, but instead he has Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, this is a syndrome in which an extra electrical pathway in the heart causes a rapid heartbeat. The extra pathway appears between the heart’s upper and lower chambers and is present at birth. Symptoms, however, most often appear between the ages of 11 and 50.
Up until about five years ago, her step-son never had any heart issues or ever complained that something felt off. When he was around 11-years-old, however, Ethan told them about some heart palpitations he was having. A slew of tests yielded no definitive results and afterward, he never complained about any heart-related issues again.
Until the morning of May 7.
Shanel Lund said that day started out as just another typical day. Some family was visiting and while they were there, Shanel and Jason left for some quick errands. When they got back, Ethan started complaining that his heart was beating kind of fast and he didn’t feel real good. He went to his room to go lie down.
“He called me from his room crying and upset,” recalled Shanel. She said his breathing was off and he just didn’t feel right. She went to his room and got his breathing under control. He had some slight pain on the right side and they thought maybe it was heartburn.
Ethan took some heartburn relief medicine and almost immediately, Shanel said, his body started arching and his breathing was way off. She said it was loud and almost sounded like he was snoring very loudly.
She immediately called 911.
Osakis Police Officer Calvin Uhl arrived on scene first, she said, followed by Osakis First Responders, including Jason Schultz. Shanel recalled that both Uhl and Schultz were the two in Ethan’s room when the family was asked to leave his room.
She also remembered a semi-funny story from that morning when they couldn’t find how to turn the light on in Ethan’s room because he had rigged the lightswitch. The lights were quickly turned on,however, and their flashlights turned off. It was at this time she saw that Ethan was losing color.
She said Ethan, who stands 6-feet tall and weighs about 280 pounds, was pulled from his bed onto the floor so that CPR could begin. CPR was performed for quite a long time, both at the house and in the ambulance. Eventually, his heart was shocked back into a somewhat normal rhythm.
After arriving Alomere Health in Alexandria that morning, Ethan was immediately flown by helicopter to a children’s hospital in the Twin Cities.
Because of how long he received CPR, there was some brain damage, said Shanel.
“He is not going to come out of this as the Ethan everyone remembers,” she said.
Since being at the Twin Cities hospital, Ethan has undergone a plethora of tests, including heart and brain MRIs and CT scans.
He will be having a defibrillator surgically implanted next week. The surgery is currently planned for next Thursday, May 28.
Shanel said the family is taking the situation day-by-day and don’t know the full extent of the brain damage.
Updates are being provided on Ethan’s GoFundMe page, Prayers for Ethan #ethanstrong.
Several fundraisers for Ethan are taking place at businesses in Osakis, including the Bowling Barn and Grill, where Ethan’s dad, Jason, is the kitchen manager.
For right now, his family is asking for prayers for Ethan and also extends their sincere gratitude and appreciation for all the first responders and everyone who has taken care of Ethan, along with all the community support and the fundraising efforts.