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Students Rally Around Ailing Mayer Teacher

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(credit: CBS) Angela Davis
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MAYER, Minn. (WCCO) – Students at a high school just west of the metro are pulling together to help a teacher in critical condition after suffering a heart attack.

Mayer Lutheran High School students are supporting their Spanish teacher, Adela Alvarez, by raising money to help with her medical expenses.

Joel Landskroener, executive director at Mayer, says when Alvarez wasn’t in the classroom teaching Spanish to teenagers, she was out in the community teaching Zumba.

It was during one of those classes two weeks ago when the 49-year-old suffered a heart attack.

“She was at one of the local churches leading just a Thursday night Zumba fitness course,” Landskroener said. “And she took a break, and at that point she collapsed.”

Administrators at Mayer told students the next day. Senior Amelia Gustafson says she was shocked.

“When we got to school that morning … we were all just really bummed out. We had this prayer, we all kind of cried a little because we were really emotional,” Gustafson said.

She had just seen Alvarez the day before.

“She seemed totally fine. She seemed healthy. It surprises everyone,” she said. “It’s like one minute you are totally fine. You never know what happens next.”

Alvarez’s husband, children and sister have been by her side at University of Minnesota Medical Center every day.

Her son Ezekiel told WCCO that there were no warning signs.

“This absolutely came out of nowhere,” Ezekiel said. “She’s been in great shape for, I don’t know, her whole life basically. And she loved Zumba.”

She is still on full heart support, and doesn’t know what happened to her.

“We definitely have a long road to go, still. She’s been sedated this whole time for two weeks so we haven’t really been able to talk to her yet,” he said.

The family appreciates the support and prayers from students at the school.

“It’s a very traumatic experience. I personally haven’t dealt with, you know, processing what exactly happened but we are taking it day by day right now, and hoping my Mom gets better and can come out of this,” Ezekiel said.

He says his family is relieved the heart attack happened in a public place where there were people who were able to perform CPR and call an ambulance quickly.

She is still in critical condition, heavily sedated and has had some blood clotting problems. She’s on blood thinners to remedy that for now, but it’s an issue that doctors are closely watching.

Friday’s basketball game at Mayer High is dedicated to Alvarez, and students will be collecting donations and gifts for her family.

Click here to find out how you can help.

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