Family clarifies Eden Prairie teen 'alive but not well' after wisdom teeth pulled

Editor's note: A previous version of this story said Sydney had passed away, but her mother took the time to clarify her daughter's condition Monday morning in a CaringBridge post, which is in full, below.


Eden Prairie High School student Sydney Galleger, 17, went in for a routine wisdom teeth procedure on Tuesday and unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest, her family said. The junior diver and alpine skier remained hospitalized Monday morning and is "alive but not well," according to a CaringBridge post offering clarification by her mother.

Sydney's parents have documented each day of her fight at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital on a CaringBridge page, where her mother, Diane, said one post had been interpreted incorrectly and her daughter is alive, but said doctors "have basically told us there is nothing else they can do" and she remains on a ventilator.

"What started out as a normal day soon turned anything but normal," her mom, Diane, wrote earlier during the ordeal. "Sydney went in this morning for a simple, common wisdom teeth extraction. All went good until the very end when her blood pressure shot up and her pulse dropped and then she went into cardiac arrest."

Monday morning update

Still hanging on
by Diane Galleger

Steve and I have been so busy tending to Sydney, I haven't had a chance to get an update out. My intentions start out good everyday to get one posted but I'm exhausted by the end of the day. I guess after my last post, it seemed as though my post may have been interpreted that Sydney had already past away. I apologize if it was intrepreted that way. I'm not thinking so clearly right now therefore I may have stated it in an unclear way. Please allow me to clarify. She HAS NOT passed away. We found out this morning the media announced that Sydney passed away on Friday, but again, this is not the case. She's alive but not well. Although the drs have basically told us there is nothing else they can do for Sydney, she continues to hang on breathing over her ventilator that's inserted in her mouth.

Long ago Steve set-up some "Galleger Family Rules." One of them was to never, ever, ever give up. Sydney is a fighter and seems to be upholding that rule right now and is defying the drs expectations. Because Sydney chose to be an organ donor, there are 10 criteria that have to be met In order to be considered "brain death" to start the organ donor process, Unfortunately she meets 9 out of the 10. The 10th criteria is not being able to breath on your own but Sydney continues to breath on her own eventhough the ventilator is still inserted. Therefore, she does not formally meet the criteria to be considered "brain death." She is a fighter. She is still alive.

We are so devasted that this has happened to our precious daughter and are still trying to process and make sense of it all. She is in very critical condition and of course we are praying for a miracle but we also have to face the reality that the prognosis is not good.

We again have been so overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support that Sydney has received. This is all giving Steve, Jack and I strength to deal with something we never thought possible. Thank you so much to the EPHS girls State Lacrosse Champs winning in double overtime and wearing blue ribbons in your hair for Sydney during your game. Way to Go!! Congratulations!! To the EPHS boys Lacrosse team for putting "SG" on their helmets! And the EP Legion Baseball team for wearing the bands on their wrists that said, "P4Syd." We've seen a community come together and how amazing you all are. We can not thank you enough.

The Eden Prairie Alpine Ski team made a vigil outside St. Andrew Lutheran Church on Friday night that was in the shape of a heart and had an "S" in the center of it. When I saw it on Saturday night, I was in awe of how beautiful it was. Sydney loved everyone on the Alpine team. And to St. Andrew Church for opening their santuary on Saturday from 4:00-midnight for a vigil to come and pray for her. To all the friends, family and people that didn't even know Sydney who came to pray for her, words can not even express our gratitude. I heard that they even had a prayer circle outside until 1:00am. We believe a miracle happened today as a result of all the prayers because she started breathing even more on her own, and coughed and we swear she wiggled a toe. I know those may seem small but they provided hope to us.

All your cards, posters, pictures, hand drawn pictures and stuffed animals adorn her room. Makes it look more friendly than a sterile hospital room and brightens it up.

To the support we've had 24/7 at the hospital from Dr. Gupta and his team of doctors, nurses and interns.They have been incredible. They've cried with us but we've managed to laugh together too.

I know I'm going to forget many people but we've had so many bringing in food to try to make sure we eat and those that have just been there daily to sit with us and have another ear to listen to what the doctors are informing us on. All of Steve's family and my family have been there supporting us, even those that came from Michigan, Indiana, and Texas. That you to my sister in-law Ann Mack for taking over the updates on Caring Bridge when I just possibly couldn't do it. To Jocelyn Jones, Jennifer Nerison, Allison Johnson, Betsey Bohlig, Mary Aksoz, Patty Goodburn, Mary Prouty, Jaci Baker, Barb Trumpi, Sheri Neumayer, Kim Mikulsky, Jill Zangs, all of my Bette's book club friends - Susan Reinking, Jenny Sigsbee, Ann Schmitbauer, Deb Werdin, Amy Cavello, Janet Hoch, Paula Hari, and Cristie Lesko. Thank you to Gina LeGare, Jennifer Nerison, Deb Werdin and Jocelyn Jones for organizing texts lists to update people. Again, I know I'm forgettiing someone but sometimes I can't even remember my own name right now. And to all of Sydney's friends that have been at her bedside. She's incredibly blessed. What an impression you've made on her life. I can't wait to hear some stories.

And a HUGE thank you to our Pastor David Lillejord. I texted Joy, his wife, after we got to the first hospital last Tuesday and by the time we reached the 2nd hospital that she is in now, he was already there and has been by our side everyday, all day long, along with Matthew Fleming, and Megan and Phil, St. Andrew's Youth Ministers to help with the kids if they had any questions when they visited.

Our faith, your prayers, family and friends are getting us through this difficult time. Thank you so much.

Find Rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. Psalm 62:5

Diane, Steve and Jack

Possible unknown heart condition

Diane said they don't know what exactly caused her to go into cardiac arrest, but they believe she may have had an unknown heart condition.

"We want to rewind to Monday where we had our happy, healthy, funny, beautiful 17-year-old daughter," Diane wrote. "As we look at all the pictures covering her hospital walls, we can't believe this same happy, healthy, funny, still beautiful daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend is lying in that hospital bed. We can't comprehend it yet and not sure when we will."

The family said Sydney's heart was so big that she chose to be an organ donor when she got her driver's license. Fortunately, they said all of her organs seem to be healthy for transplanting.

Words of love

Several Eden Prairie athletic teams including the baseball team, hockey team, and lacrosse team wore Sydney's initials on their uniforms to "Play for Syd." The Eden Prairie Girls Lacrosse team won the State Championship this week, dedicating their title to Sydney and holding their trophy up in her honor.


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