Sep 10, 2023

Karen’s Hope Set To Ride Saturday

Members of Karen's Hope (in blue shirts) met Maverick's family at Lewis & Clark Lake in May. Front Row, from right to left: Heather Hochstein, Nathan Olson, Zach Engen holding Maverick Biel, Jaycie Biel, Susan Foxhoven and Madison Biel. Also pictured: Melissa Cowman, Gerrold Biel, Nichole Skovly (purple shirt for reference), Derrick Biel (White shirt for reference), Renae Villagomez, Emily Carlson, Kandie Saugstad, Jesus Villagomez, Krista Wilbur, James Raney, Greg Saugstad and Joshua Skovly.

The annual Karen's Hope Memorial Ride is back this weekend, raising money for its youngest recipient yet, a 3-year-old on the road to recovery after a life-threatening fall earlier this year.

The event is set for June 3 at Mojo's Third Street Pizza. Registration for the Poker Run begins at 11 a.m. with kickstands up at noon and a live band and street dance to follow. Also Saturday, Karen's Hope will raffle off a Winchester Model 10 gun with custom walnut stock.

"You cannot buy this gun in the store; it is custom built," Heather Hochstein, the founder of Karen's Hope, told the Press & Dakotan. "The value of the gun is $4,500. It's a one-of-a-kind piece."

Attendees will also be able to participate in a 50/50 raffle as well as a silent auction. Commemorative T-shirts, tank tops and bandanas will be available for purchase.

This year's proceeds will go to aid in the recovery of Maverick Biel of Yankton, who was injured in a fall from a tricycle at a Super Bowl party and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result.

"It's pretty special to rally around a little guy that young," Hochstein said, calling Maverick "our little Hulk" because he loves the Hulk so much.

This will be Karen's Hope's seventh event in memory of Hochstein's mother, Karen Tolsma, who sustained a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle-deer collision in 2016. Hochstein organized the first Karen's Hope Poker Run as a fundraiser for Tolsma's care and recovery. After Tolsma died from her injury the following January, Hochstein founded Karen's Hope to help other families deal with the continuous expenses that accompany living with and receiving treatment for a TBI.

"Every year, we post on our Facebook page that, if anybody knows of somebody that's been affected by traumatic brain injuries, to send us (their name)," Hochstein said. "We’ll sit down and go over all of those recipients, and then we vote on who we feel is the most in need or would be most impacted by Karen's Hope."

This time, Karen's Hope received recommendations for six individuals.

"It was extremely hard to choose because every single (case) was very heart wrenching and very deserving of help," she said, adding that the non-profit hopes to grow to the point of being able to help more than one recipient each year. "The group was pretty unanimous that we wanted to help the 3-year-old because his injuries may not have been as severe as the other ones, but he's 3 and he still has to grow and his injuries still may develop."

Hochstein said that Maverick hopped up on a tricycle in his uncle's garage where adults were watching the game and fell off backwards, hitting his head on the concrete floor. Though there was no visible injury, the boy's mood deteriorated and the family left early. By midnight, Maverick's mother, Jaycie Biel, was convinced her child was seriously hurt and took him to the emergency room in Yankton. He became unresponsive and coded on arrival due to severe brain bleeding, and he went into surgery a few hours later.

Emergency room personnel went into action quickly, Maverick's stepfather, Zach Engen, told the Press & Dakotan.

"As soon as we walked up to the front desk, he let out a scream and the nurse immediately came around the desk and opened the door right away," he said. "We went right in, they laid him down, they couldn't feel much of a pulse and they called the code within 30 seconds of being there."

Within 2 minutes, there were 12-15 people in the room with Maverick, Engen said.

"His pulse was down in the 30s, which is the point at which his brain is being deprived of oxygen," he said. "It probably took a good 45 minutes to an hour before he was finally at a comfortable spot for them to do a CT scan."

The scan revealed the presence of a brain bleed that was putting pressure on the part of the brain that controls heart rate and breathing, he said.

Maverick was airlifted to Sioux Falls for surgery, by which time, according to the neurosurgeon, the bleed had tripled in size, encompassing a quarter to a third of Maverick's brain, Engen said.

"It could have ended so differently," Nathan Olson, Maverick's father, told the Press & Dakotan. "I’m thankful that everybody responded the way they did."

He added that time spent with his son now is cherished in a new way.

Though the surgery was a success, Maverick's recovery is just beginning because his body and his brain are still growing.

"They said, when he fell, the pressure was so much that it cracked all the way up to the front side of his head," Jaycie said, noting that headaches continue to be a problem. "(It) has been really difficult for him trying to relearn how to express himself or to ask for things other than (by) throwing a fit about it."

Other than that, Maverick is walking, talking and running, which surprised his doctors, she said, though they continue to monitor his headaches.

"I feel like if I got him to the ER sooner, it wouldn't have been nearly as bad," Jaycie said. "If you have a gut feeling about your child, trust your parent instincts."

Also, she cautioned parents to make sure their child knows to wear a helmet while bike riding.

"(They should) always wear helmets, even if they are just on a little tricycle," she said.


For more information, visit Karen's Hope at

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