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Former Okanagan Sun football player needs help after brain aneurysm

Jesse Kendall, left, and Michelle Kwelty during happier times.
Image Credit: Contributed
September 21, 2015 - 9:00 PM

KELOWNA - A young Kelowna man is fighting to regain his old life after a brain aneurysm caused him to crash his motorbike and left him in hospital in a coma.

Jesse Kendall, 23, was riding with friends when it happened, his wife Michelle Felty says.

“They were doing one last ride before winter," she says. "He obviously lost control of his bike and went into a ditch.”

Airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital, doctors originally thought crashing his bike had caused the aneurysm but further tests proved that false.

“The bleed was so deep in the brain, there was no way the fall could have done it," Felty says. "Literally, the crash caused some bruises and scratches, that’s it.”

Just three weeks later, Jesse remains in hospital, out of the coma but struggling to regain the use of his right side, she says.

“He was in the coma for about a week. I remember the first day there he opened his eyes. He looked around and checked us all out then he grabbed my arm and pulled me over and gave me a big hug.”

Felty says Jesse’s fitness level — he’s a former Okanagan Sun football player who’s big into sports — played a big part in his recovery to date. 

Since then, Felty says his progress has been marked by many small triumphs, such as breathing on his own, standing with help, moving his arm and leg.

"He’s almost standing unaided," she says.

While his progress is remarkable, Felty admits the last three weeks have been amongst the worst of her life.

“They were preparing me for his death at one point. He’s only 23. A young man is not supposed to have an aneurysm.”

Regardless of his progress, the young couple — he’s a paid on-call fireman and an accounts manager with Coca Cola and she’s a care aide with Interior Health — there are big obstacles in the path of a full recovery.

“He’s tried to speak once or twice but we couldn’t really understand what he was saying. It’s not coming out like he intends it. His right side is not responding very well.”

A mutal friend of the couple, Julie Warner, has started a GoFundMe account to help the young couple with medical expenses.

“I wasn’t too crazy about the idea at first, but it gives people a chance to help out,” Felty says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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