New: Reno Mahe supporters restore his home, free family to focus on critically injured daughter; mom offers Elsie update

Sunny and Elsie Mahe. Photo; Facebook

LEHI, Utah, Nov. 25, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — In the three days since the near strangulation of toddler Elsie Mahe in a mini-blind cord accident, a small army of friends, family and strangers has stepped forward to help her parents.

Volunteers have removed other nagging worries so Reno and Sunny Tonga Mahe could focus all their energy on their 3-year-old daughter as she fights for her life.

Reno Mahe — the famed Brigham Young University running back who played five years for the Philadelphia Eagles before returning as BYU running back coach — has spent much of the past few days at the Primary Children’s Hospital bedside of Elsie.

So has wife Sunny, who was a BYU volleyball freshman All-American. The couple has eight children.

A post Thursday on the Mahe Update Facebook page, set up for updates on Elsie’s condition, shared the news of human-made “Thanksgiving miracle” created on the Mahes’ behalf.

“If you want to see what Thanksgiving, gratitude and neighborly love is all about, grab a tissue and watch this welcome home video from this morning,” said a post by Valarie Pitcher Andrus.

“A little background first…. Ever since Sunny had their last baby, coupled with two major house floods and Reno being gone for work a lot, trying to catch up on the house had been a rather daunting task for a busy mother caring for 7 children. So when word got out about Elsie, my phone began blowing up with questions as to how everyone could help. Since not everyone could be at the hospital, friends started going to the house to see how they could serve there instead.”

Andrus said the effort began with girlfriends cleaning, and grew when friends, neighbors and strangers showed up to ask what they could do. Some hauled water-damaged furniture to the dump while others patched holes in the wall and painted.

“I saw people replacing water damaged furniture with items from their own living rooms,” Andrus continued. “I watched men replacing broken faucets and lights, tuning up appliances, moving furniture around and completely replacing all the beds in the home with brand new ones.

“Teenagers and kids scrubbed walls, floors, toys and even organized closets and rooms. My eyes burst into tears as I watched my friends cleaning and decorating every inch of the home. The beds had new linens, beautiful pictures were thoughtfully hung, every light bulb was changed and lamps added to bring soft lighting to each room. The spirit could be felt so strong, no one wanted to leave. If fact, no one did!”

Volunteers stocked the refrigerator and pantry, or did laundry. Professionals cleaned the carpets, Andrus reported.

“No detail was missed. In fact, the blinds involved in the accident were thrown out and the owner of contacted us and offered to replace every corded blind in the home with uncorded blinds for free!”

Andrus said everyone was excited to see the reaction of the Mahe family when they came home, and the video that captured it was shared on the Facebook page.

On Friday on Facebook, Sunny Mahe shared an Elsie update:

“I feel like I owe all of you a more personal update, I am just at a loss as to where to begin. I’m just so overwhelmed with gratitude. I believe Valarie already mentioned that I have seen many miracles already through this experience. I have felt peace about Elsie. She seems to be showing slow but positive progress, but the Lord could still call her home. We are not out of the woods. But I trust Him and His plan.

“Her eyes respond to light, she has been pulling away to pain and has been moving her extremities and her head side to side. All good signs. But she also still has a fever, is breathing over the ventilator too fast and her heart rate is elevated. (So more of the same — watch and wait.)
“She has possibly been somewhat overstimulated, so we are cutting back on bringing guests back to her room. They compared it to me as if you were trying to sleep and every 20 minutes someone came and touched you or tried to talk to you. It gets irritating for her healing brain to try to process every sound and touch. So even Reno and I are trying not to stimulate her through staying quiet and only speaking to or touching her when she already has to be stimulated during the doctor’s exams.
“I’m completely overwhelmed and humbled at the hours of prayers, service and support that has been given to my family. I should tell you this — I was very nervous about how I would feel returning home to the scene of the worst moments of my life. I wondered if I could ever feel safe there again and I wondered how seeing it may trigger horrific memories. My dear angels on earth have transformed my home to where I will never have to worry about that again. When I look around my home, all I see and feel is love. From the deepest and most tender places of my heart, I thank you. I wish I had better words than that to express my gratitude. I can never repay the gift that you have given to me.

“I love you all and I have felt your prayers. Thank you for your love and concern and continued prayers.”
A GoFundMe account set up on the Mahes’ behalf had raised $39,285 000 of a $50,000 as of 1 p.m. Friday.


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