A 16-year-old girl died after collapsing on a bike path in St. Michael during her Sunday morning run.
According to the Wright County Sheriff's Office, Michaela Marie Olson was found unresponsive at 9:34 a.m. on the bike path near Kady Ave. NE and 45th St. NE. The girl was taken to New River Medical Center in Monticello where she was pronounced dead.
Returning to the place where their daughter collapsed and died is difficult for DuWayne and Robin Olson, but seeing a memorial to their daughter along the path shows the impact Michaela had on all those who met her.
"There's more people than I can say and thank for their comments on Facebook that tells us how impacting she's been to their lives as just a standup good person with integrity and couldn't be more proud of my daughter," DuWayne Olson said.
The 16-year-old left for a jog Sunday morning and collapsed just two blocks away from her home.
"I doubt it was heat-related because it's been hotter out before yesterday and she's been out in it," Olson said.
Over the past three years, Olson says Michaela battled breathing problems. They took her to a specialist and it was believed to be a vocal chord issue that was causing her problems. Michaela had been doing breathing exercises and was taking a break from soccer during that time.
So after taking time off from the sport she loved, Michaela was once again training to play soccer.
"So for this to happen it's just an absolute shock because we thought vocal chord dysfunction was the issue and that we had breathing exercises from the children's specialist to resolve it," Olson said. "We were showing improvement."
For the past two years Michaela babysat Candace Green's son, Brendan. Candace says Michaela was the perfect sitter, always bringing things for Brendan to do – not just showing up for the money.
"She was so wonderful with children," Green said. "It's hard to explain to a little 5-year-old that his babysitter is not going to be here anymore. So I just told him God needed babysitters up in heaven and she was one of the good ones."
The local St. Michael Patch website reports this is the third teenager from St. Michael-Albertville High School to die in the past year, following a suicide and a cancer death.
"She was not afraid to share her faith with friends at school," Olson said. "She was a light to many of the students that were lost."
Today the family is relying on their faith to get them through and knowing their daughter's life carries on in others. When Michaela got her driver's license, she signed up to be an organ donor.
"That's just the way she is -- that's the giving way that she is," Olson said. "She gives first and expects later. She will be in heaven now and she'll be watching as she can see all the rewards reaped of her generosity of her love. I can't be more happy and proud of her."
The family doesn't believe Michaela's collapse and death are heat-related, due to her underlying medical issue; however, they are eager to hear from the Wright County Medical Examiner so they can help others learn from this incident.
A prayer service for students has been set for Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Peterson Funeral Chapel, and visitation will follow between 4 and 8 p.m. The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday at the New Life Community Church in Maple Grove.