Beat the Odds: Kasson Family Moves On After Back-to-Back Traumatic Experiences

April 13, 2018 07:17 AM

(ABC 6 News)-- Nineteen-year-old Simona Fosdick grew up in a close-knit family in Kasson. Like many families, the Fosdicks have photo albums full of family pictures. With those pictures, come memories; some of which are fonder than others. 

"(My mom and I) were going through stuff in my room. We put water on the stove because we were going to make Ramen. All of a sudden we started to smell like a smoke and I looked over at my mom and said 'do you smell that?' and she said 'yeah, that's kind of weird' and when we opened the door, the house was filling with smoke," recalled Simona. 


"I could hear things being thrown around and I'm like 'mom, are you ok?' and she's not responding. So I'm like oh my gosh my mom, something happened and I'm going to pull her body out. I honestly thought that I lost my mom because she wasn't responding," said Simona. 

When she went into the house after the fire was out, Simona said everything was black. 

"During the fire, we didn't realize how hot it got and how dangerous it really was," said Simona's mother, Marion. 

"I was more worried about Simona and Marion," said Simona's father, Daniel. 

The fire still haunts Simona and Marion to this day. 

"When we were fixing the house up, my mom and I couldn't even go in there," said Simona. 

Thankfully, Simona and her mother were ok. However, just two weeks after the fire, the news would strike that another member of the Fosdick family was not ok. 

"I wasn't feeling real well. It turns out I had three bleeding ulcers that were infected with a virus and they stuffed me in the hospital and took care of that issue. It took me a long time to recover and my kidneys took a big hit in that time frame," said Daniel. 

"He ended up getting approved for a kidney," said Simona, "As soon as he got approved, I started the process." 

As soon as she found out her father needed a kidney transplant, Simona knew she wanted to be the donor. However, she wouldn't have to as the family finally got some good news. 

"Three months from the day they put me on the transplant list, I was in surgery getting a new kidney," said Daniel. 

The surgery and recovery went well, but Daniel's medical problems were not over. 

"They said he was showing signs of rejections," said Simona. 

"After the first couple days, the numbers that show how your body is accepting or rejecting the kidney went absolutely crazy and started to elevate," said Daniel. 

Then, after he started the healing process from that, Daniel suffered a heart attack. 

"He actually said at one point that he didn't know if he was going to make it," said Simona, "The thing I want most is for him to come home and I don't know when that is. 

Simona and her family take things day by day and even though she's still dealing with the scare of her dad's health problems, Simona is stepping up to help around the house and is focusing on her future. 

"She'll call me and she'll be like 'is there anything I can do to help mom?'," said Marion. 

Simona is currently attending RCTC in the Path to Purple program with Winona State University to become an elementary school teacher. She says she wants to inspire kids, just like the influential teachers she has had throughout her life. Teachers like Jennifer Kiehne, a psychology instructor at RCTC who nominated Simona for the Beat the Odds scholarship

"I think Simona is the perfect example of a student that works really hard," said Jennifer. 

"My teachers really have an impact on me and I have a special connection with a few of them and I want to have a connection like that with other people," said Simona. 

Everyone in her support system knows Simona will have no problem reaching her goals and following her dreams,"   

"I don't think there's anything that's going to stop her, I really don't," said Jennifer. 

"She's the best kid on the planet that I could ever ask for. And really grateful that she got that scholarship which helps out when we've got so many medical bills and stuff. We'll get through it, we always do. We're a pack," said Simona's parents. 

"That kind of pushes me is showing my dad that, yeah, you're going through all of this but I'm still pushing forward," said Simona. 

Pushing forward and adding more memories to those family albums. 


Brianna Cook

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