What started as a family ski trip last December quickly turned into a life-threatening emergency for his daughter. Now, Wally Posner and his family are determined to change the fate of others – and bring awareness to the little-known condition that nearly took his daughter’s life.
Robbie Ventura, Vision Quest Coaching: “I think he’s probably close to six or seven thousand miles of training just for this event. He’s been so consistent. There’ve been bad days, rainy days, cold days. He shows up every day.”
Every day for six months, 54-year-old Wally Posner has been building his endurance. There are three-hour group rides early in the morning, and hours of more training with Robbie Ventura at Vision Quest Coaching, where an elaborate computerized training system helps him simulate the tough terrain that lies ahead.
Robbie Ventura: “These middle sections right here are going to be just like the climbs you’re going to encounter in Colorado.”
The climbs are key. Beginning July 26, Wally will set out on a 1,300-mile journey to Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Wally Posner: “It’s scheduled to take 13 days, and we’ll be riding about 100 miles a day. The ride is a tribute to everyone that helped save my daughter. We were on our family ski vacation. We were snowboarding, going up and down and having a lot of fun. As she was coming down the mountain, I noticed she was in a great deal of distress.”
Danielle Posner, SCAD patient: “I just started feeling really nauseous, and my shoulder hurt and I don’t really remember much after that.”
Wally Posner: “My daughter’s head shifted down, her eyes crossed and she turned blue and she went into cardiac arrest.”
That’s when the Beaver Creek ski patrol mounted an incredible effort.
Wally Posner: “All of a sudden there was a second ski patrol, a third, a fourth, a fifth. They intubated her, they started CPR. Then all of a sudden I remember hearing the defibrillator saying, ‘stand back, stand back.’ It was about to shock her.”
Danielle was ultimately airlifted to a medical center in Denver, where doctors determined she had suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection – or SCAD. A tear in the inner lining of a vessel — then a clot — had blocked the flow of blood to the heart muscle. It’s a rare condition more common in younger patients and women, with no known cause.
Wally Posner: “I had never heard of anything like this in my life. It was shocking.”
Doctors placed a stent to reopen Danielle’s artery. The 20-year-old spent the next week in the hospital, her condition steadily improving.
Wally Posner: “Everyone who assisted in saving my daughter’s life, I thought needed to be recognized.”
That’s just one purpose of Wally’s Mountain Miracle Ride. He hopes to raise awareness and money to support SCAD research.
Danielle Posner: “He’s not doing it for me but for everybody out there who’s experienced this and for the research that’s not there.
Danielle is getting stronger and was able to return to college this past spring. When Wally arrives in Beaver Creek on August 9, he plans to present a special gift to the incredible ski patrol team who saved his daughter’s life.
To learn more about Wally Posner’s Mountain Miracle Ride, go to www.themountainmiracle.com
To learn more about SCAD and current research, go to www.scadresearch.org