You may have seen her face on billboards around town. The Fargo restaurant community is coming together to support one of its own, who's unable to work. A 23-year-old woman has been a cook for years at local businesses, but is facing hard times after injuring her spine.
A short walk down the hallway never used to be this exhausting for McKenna Dinkel, who loves extreme sports. That all changed in December, when she severely injured her spinal cord while snow tubing with her family.
"If the kids can do it, I can do it, and it was my first 10 seconds down the hill, and I hit a big ice block. And, as soon as I hit my ears starting ringing and I went into the air, and I remember being up in the air and being like, crap, I can't feel my legs," says McKenna.
A week ago, she left the hospital and is slowly regaining strength.
"How you feel about it is almost like losing somebody, and you have to get over that mental gap or else you're not going to put, let's say your best foot forward," says McKenna.
Loss is a familiar feeling for McKenna. Her mom died 8 months ago. Since then, her aunt Kris Mickelson has become her biggest cheerleader. "It's not the first walk down the road that's been kinda tough, we have walked that road before, and we got through it, and we will get through this too," she says.
McKenna's goal is to start walking again by August, the month her best friend is getting married. "and I said I refuse to go down the aisle in leg braces and a walker, or in a wheel chair. Cause we have super cute short dresses. And I don't want to wear my ugly leg braces. And, I don't want to go down the aisle in front of her, and take attention away from her," says McKenna.
In order to walk, she'll undergo extensive physical therapy. A road made longer knowing that her insurance won't cover many more visits.
A benefit is scheduled to help McKenna, it will be at Shotgun Sallys in Fargo, where she was a worked as a cook.
The benefit is slated for Wednesday, March 4th from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.