Zane Waldvogel to offer message and inspiration to community Tuesday|
|A young Antigo man who has become a knowledgeable and forceful speaker, Zane Waldvogel, will deliver a message of life and warning on drinking and driving Tuesday evening in a special event at the Edison Club.|
The program, billed as “Zanespeak,” is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., and everyone is welcome.
Waldvogel will speak candidly about the dangers of drinking and driving from a man who knows. He lived through a crash that would have killed just about anyone else, and now he is taking his message to anyone who will listen — especially young people.
The story’s very public beginning came on a very dark January night when a drunk and disoriented Waldvogel sent his 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix screaming west on Fifth Avenue out of Antigo, and missed the corner at the new Highway 64 bypass.
He was transported by city ambulance to Langlade County Airport and taken by medical helicopter to Aspirus Wausau Hospital, where, in a coincidence, one of the finest neurosurgeons in the nation was practicing on a temporary basis.
Waldvogel underwent four surgeries in four days, with the trickiest—fusing his skull to his vertebra using steel rods—coming last. It took 11 hours and was a surgery that only 10 people had ever survived, according to Waldvogel’s research.
Rehabilitation followed, first in Milwaukee and later in Juneau.
“I literally had to re-grow-up cognitively and emotionally,” he said. “I was all over the place.”
He almost succumbed again, losing a drastic amount of weight while in Juneau and ending up back in Wausau, on the intuition of his parents, when a shunt was inserted into his brain. Again his physical conditioning before the accident saved him, he said.
“I bottomed out at 110 pounds, and that was from 170,” he said. “I was literally skin and bones.”
There has been amazing recovery that defies the early assessments of technicians and medical personnel.
A big part of that healing process, and repaying the community for its love, prayers and support, will come Tuesday when he hopes to prevent other young people from facing the same tragedy.
A photograph of Zane Waldvogel in the hospital and in better times last week, left.
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