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Dani Cota

Dani Cota (right) and her mother, Jessica Cota, greeted the Lincoln North Star pep band and cheer squad when they visited Dani at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in July.

People who want to support Dani Cota, the Lincoln North Star senior recovering at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital from a stroke, can buy bracelets and key chains or donate to a bank account set up in her name.

In May 2013, Dani was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation, or AVM, an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins in her brain that has caused her to have severe headaches, fainting spells, a seizure and a stroke.

She suffered a seizure on June 2 -- her 17th birthday -- and a stroke 12 days later while she was hospitalized.

Last week, members of the North Star pep band, the cheerleading squad and the band's color guard (of which she's captain) came to Madonna. They serenaded her, did cheers in her honor, and told her they missed her and wanted her back at school soon.

Though insurance has covered some of the costs, her family has incurred substantial medical bills, said Dani’s grandmother Barb Matson. The cost of the helicopter alone that flew her to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha was $38,700, less than a third of which was covered by insurance, Matson said. Dani also spent a significant amount of time in the intensive care unit and has been recovering at Madonna since June 26.

Those interested in donating can go to any Wells Fargo bank and mention the Dani Cota account, Matson said.

And those interested in buying key chains or bracelets that say “Team Dani” for $5 apiece can contact Matson at 402-430-0292.

​Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or


Education reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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