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Woman tackles Twin Cities 5K with walker, 18 days after stroke

Nicol Rinderknecht was out with coworkers when she started to feel dizzy. Luckily they rushed her to the hospital, and may have saved her life.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Saturday was a hot, hazy day in the Twin Cities, with temperatures reaching the 90s -- certainly not ideal running weather. 

But one Twin Cities in Motion participant wasn't going to skip the race for anything, including a recent stroke. 

Flight attendant Nicol Rinderknecht celebrated the Fourth of July by watching the fireworks with coworkers in Cincinnati, but things didn't go as planned. She started to feel unwell and wanted to go back to her hotel to sleep. Her coworkers, however, insisted she go to the hospital - and it's a good thing she did. 

"My coworkers that I was with I begged them just to take me to the hotel and just let me go to sleep because I was tired and they refused, thankfully because I don’t know that I would’ve actually woken up the next day or maybe I would’ve woken up but been paralyzed forever," said Rinderknecht. 

Rinderknecht says out of nowhere she started feeling dizzy and light-headed which she thought was due to one thing:

"We’re actually 22 weeks pregnant," said Rinderknecht's husband Jad.

She found herself struggling to stand, while trying to piece together words through slurred speech. Rinderknecht was having stroke. 

"I never ever thought that I was having a stroke or that I would be in this situation," said Rinderknecht. 

A situation which presented a major setback for the 10K she was scheduled to run Saturday. But even with the odds against her, Rinderknecht settled for the 5K, with her walker in tow, crossing the finish line one inspirational step at a time. 

"Its definitely an inspiration to young women and even men everywhere that you can get out and do it and do the things that you enjoy," said Jad. 

Finding strength through life’s setbacks one day and step at a time. 

"You never know what tomorrow may bring and life can change in an instant," said Rinderknecht. She went on to say, "You just have to keep doing what makes you happy every day.”

Doctors are still working to figure out what lead to Rinderknecht's stroke. Her husband Jad said she has no family history of strokes and has never had any health issues other than asthma since birth.

Information about Rinderknecht's recovery and how you can help is available here.