Sept. 8 at Scissorbills

By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor

BIG SKY – Chris Rennau was on a mountain bike trip in northern Utah last April, when he suffered an unexpected stroke. Rennau, 29, was driving with a friend to a campsite after a ride when it happened.

“Out of nowhere, the whole left side of my body went completely numb,” Rennau recalls. “It didn’t go away.”

He pulled over, and his friend called 911.

“I knew what the symptoms of a stroke were,” Rennau said. I thought to myself, ‘this might be a stroke.’

An ambulance brought him to the emergency room in Vernal, Utah, and the following morning, he went to the University of Utah Neurology Care Center in Salt Lake City, where he spent a week. Back in Montana, he had to get a two-hour intravenous infusion every six hours for three weeks.

Rennau, who says he doesn’t smoke and rarely drinks, says the stroke was likely due to a combination of unlikely factors that were hard for doctors to diagnose. He had accident insurance, but because the incident wasn’t the result of an accident, his insurance company denied the claim.

Originally from Vermont, Rennau graduated from Montana State University in 2007 and moved to Big Sky two years ago. He coaches the Moonlight Freeride Team in the winter and has been working at Moonlight this summer, as well.

Rennau has regained his motor skills back and even went skiing in July, hiking into the Spanish Peaks and skiing the Blaze couloir. He still feels “pins and needles” in his left leg, and has several large hospital bills hanging over his head.

Scissorbills Saloon is hosting a fundraiser for Rennau on Saturday, Sept. 8, starting at 8 p.m. The band Riot Act will play live, and DJ Miscellaneous will follow. There will also be food, beverages, a silent auction and a raffle, Rennau said.

Past medical bill fundraisers at Scissorbills have been well attended, said owner Keith Kuhns.

“I’m always happy to help our Big Sky friends when they need a hand. A lot of other people are organizing it and doing the footwork. I’m just opening the doors. We’re going to let it rip.”

An account is set up for Chris Rennau at American Bank and online at http://fnd.us/c/6Lbl1.