Melissa Dahlmann Injured. Please Chip In. Updated

 

Melissa Needs Our Help (Updates below)

One of the Twin Cities best and brightest, 29 year-old bike shop employee, Melissa Dahlmann suffered serious injuries Friday (September 14, 2012) morning while doing some light warm-ups with teammates at the Oval.  Melissa inexplicably fell and could not put her hands out to catch herself in time.  She plowed chin first right into the Oval pavement.

Her jaw was broken in at least 3 places.  Surgery was performed Friday night into Saturday morning to stabilize the jaw, insert plates, and wire her jaw shut – she is sporting a “grill” any rapper would be proud of.

Melissa’s injuries necessitated extensive ER treatment, multiple nights in the hospital, significant facial surgery to repair the multiple fractures to the jaw, and future orthodontic surgery, braces, and related procedures will be forthcoming.  She has lost and/or broken a significant number of teeth.

Recovery will be a long, painful, and expensive process.

Melissa’s insurance is simply not enough to cover the significant medical expenses she is incurring and will incur.

We’d like the help of all of you skaters, family, and friends to help one of our own get back on her feet after this heart-wrenching end to what was an incredible season.  I am asking you to join me, and the rest of our supportive sporting community, by chipping in some cash towards Mel’s medical expenses.

Whether it’s $20 or $200, every bit will help Mel smile.  (And if you’re thinking “whoa, $200??  Who is she kiddin?”, consider this:  we all shell out $50 – $100 or more JUST for registration on a single race, often without blinking – plus hotels, gas, meals, wheels, bearings, etc.).  

Think of how quickly we could help Mel if 100 skaters each chipped in $100 to make Mel smile!  And your money will last a whole lot longer than 26.2 miles, and make a young woman’s life better for it.

If every visitor to this site, over the course of a busy day, simply donated even $20 we could change her life – every bit will help.  100% of proceeds will go to Mel.

PLEASE HELP in our “Race to Make Mel Smile”.

You can easily donate via credit card or paypal thru the secure link embedded below:
(If you would prefer to send a check, please contact Andy Uttke at auttke@hotmail.com for details on where to send your check for Mel.)

After chipping in, please help spread the word to your friends via email, facebook, twitter, linkedin or good ole fashioned conversation.

  • We are not on Facebook – so PLEASE spread this there for us.   Melissa has friends in the biking, and the ice speed skating community – please help to make sure they are informed.

Our Connection:

Throughout this summer, Andy and I have gotten to know Melissa on a personal level as we’ve trekked together to a number of marathons, sharing both racing and friendly fun, like hurricane camping experiences, flying bicycle wheels, and lots and lots of Andy’s killer spaghetti.

You may have noticed that there has not been a NSIM Race Report post or photo gallery.  That is because Andy and I did not make the trip north.  Andy stayed at the hospital with Melissa Friday into Saturday, as they waited for her family to make the trip, and waited out the long surgery into the early hours of Saturday morning.

Andy and I well know how supportive and tight-knit everyone can be in our skating community, having seen it first hand after Andy broke his collarbone several summers ago.  I ask you to extend that same kindness, as well as your generosity, to help another fellow skater in need.  Let’s help Mel!!

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UPDATE: September 18, 2012

After three nights and four very long days, Melissa has left the hospital!

After enduring extensive reconstructive surgery, incredible physical pain, multiple CT’s, round the clock treatment, and horrible liquid food, it is a tremendous first step to make it home.  Melissa, however, is not “all better.”  Her jaw will be wired shut for months.  Only after her jaw heals can they begin the substantial reconstructive dental work (bridges, braces, root canals, etc.)  This will be a long, painful, and expensive process, so please continue to give generously.

I thought of Melissa when I saw the following maxim on a church message board this morning:  A flower must go through a lot of dirt before it can bloom.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you Melissa.

A special thank you to fellow sports websites (inlineplanet, skinnyski, speedskateworld 1 and 2, skatelogforum and the Minnesota Cycle Federation) for picking up Melissa’s story.

Andy Uttke

UPDATE: September 21, 2012 (ONE WEEK)

Melissa’s progress since leaving the hospital has been astounding.  The swelling and bruising are down. The stitches in her chin have been removed. Most importantly her spirits are up.  The food is, and will be for months, entirely liquid.  But thankfully, milkshakes are liquid and come in hundreds of flavors.  Apparently, and this was news to me, pie is also a liquid if you add enough milk!

There is still a long road ahead and your continued support is greatly appreciated.  Melissa is still unable to return to work, so lost wages continue to mount, as do medical costs (with dental costs still looming months down the road).

Since the terror of last weeks wreck, we have been overwhelmed by the support (in so many different forms) from our inline community and the community at large.  Melissa and I again sincerely thank all of you.

Andy Uttke

UPDATE: October 1, 2012 (TWO WEEKS)

Two weeks ago today Melissa left the hospital.  I would not have believed then how quickly she would progress.  She has been able to do some light hiking, dryland workouts, even light biking with a full suspension bike . . . there are plenty of people out there who couldn’t do those things fully healthy.

Andy Uttke

UPDATE: October 12, 2012 (ONE MONTH)

 

Four weeks ago, on the morning of Thursday, September 13th, Melissa and I put in our final hard interval-filled skate in preparation for the NorthShore Inline Marathon.

Yesterday, we triumphantly returned to the Greenway! Our 24 mile skate wasn’t as fast, nor as interval-filled as the month before.   We found the Greenway had some new pavement, some new gravel-like areas, and some leaves and sticks.  Yet, none of that mattered to either of us.

Click here for the rest of the story.

 

UPDATED:  November 5, 2012 (7 weeks)

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This weekend at the American Cup in Milwaukee, Melissa returned to competitive skating.  With only a couple of hours on ice this season (the night before the events began) she proceeded to set a personal best, finish second in the mass start, and have an all-around solid performance against the best competition in the nation.

Post recovery: Melissa Dahlmann & Andy Uttke