A scary, life-threatening moment for one Verona woman has brought together a community of friends, family and colleagues to support her recovery – raising around $15,000 for her medical expenses.

Jill Hensen, who formerly worked at 5th Quarter Sports Bar and Grill and has since worked at Preferred Title in Madison for 20 years, collapsed at work and went into cardiac arrest on Friday, June 12.

Fortunately, a coworker who was recently CPR certified helped keep Hensen alive until first responders arrived.

Hensen was rushed to St. Mary’s Hospital, where it was discovered she had suffered some brain damage due to lost oxygen while her heart was stopped. One of her arteries was 100% blocked.

She was put into a medically-induced coma and placed on a ventilator for three weeks to help her brain heal, as doctors were not sure how much damage had been done, but she began having seizures while in a coma.

Hensen was transferred to Meriter Hospital and then a specialty hospital, but she is no longer in intensive care.

According to her daughter Cailynn, Hensen is now awake and her seizures have been controlled, she’s not on a ventilator anymore, she’s speaking and “doing really well.”

However, Jill remains on a trach.

“It was a crazy experience because she’s one of the healthiest people,” Cailynn said. “She isn’t overweight, doesn’t eat terribly, it shows it can happen to anyone.”

Family friend and Jill’s former coworker Leann Butts, owner of 5th Quarter, helped raise $10,400 for Hensen’s medical expenses at a golf outing.

“We were going to have our regular golf outing anyways and then this happened,” Butts said. “We usually donate money from the outing to something, so since this happened, we ran with it.”

Butts said 136 golfers attended the event.

“Once it became for Jill, more people joined in who wouldn’t have otherwise with COVID,” she said.

Cailynn, who works at Mid-West Family Broadcasting, was able to use her position to help market the event on the radio.

One of Jill’s friends — Lynn Weasner — also launched a GoFundMe, which has raised over $4,200.

“Everyone has been incredibly supportive during this time,” Cailynn said. “My mom is a Verona native — the community knows her — but we didn’t think we would see this much love and support from everyone. People even came from out of town for this event. It’s been crazy and wonderful to see.”

Due to COVID-19, Hensen has only been allowed one visitor per day, so Cailynn has been dutifully visiting and supporting her mom daily.

Cailynn and Butts are next planning a cornhole tournament to continue fundraising for Hensen’s medical expenses. The event will be at 5th Quarter on Aug. 22. It will include a 50/50 raffle and a bake sale.

“She’s doing incredibly well compared to where we started but she still has a long road of recovery and rehab ahead of her,” Cailynn said.

Neal Patten, community reporter, can be contacted at neal.patten@wcinet.com.