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Royal McGregor / Forum News Service, Published March 20 2013

After carbon monoxide poisoning, Beach duo has helped their team to state

Dickinson, N.D. - Everything happens for a reason.

That adage has been said over and over again. Yet, it was never truer than on March 4 at the Farstveet home in Beach, N.D.

Wet and heavy snowfall, which postponed the District 13 championship game to the following day, kept the Beach girls basketball team at home.

Beach junior starters Hailee Farstveet and Cydni Stedman, who have supplied nearly half the team’s points during the season, left school at noon to watch a movie at Farstveet’s house. While there, Farstveet and Stedman said they started to get headaches and feel dizzy.

Both thought nothing of it at the time. But soon, the headaches and the dizziness got worse.

Neither realized they had been inhaling carbon monoxide since arriving at the house.

“We were just sitting there watching a movie and I got up to get some Advil, because I had a headache,” Farstveet said. “I got up and passed out. Then I got up, got a glass of water, and passed out again. I passed out again, and I didn’t know where I was going. It was scary.”

Stedman added: “It was just one of those scary, freak accidents that just come up out of nowhere.”

Again, everything happens for a reason.

At the same time, Hailee’s father, Eric, hadn’t been feeling well at work and went to the clinic because he was also feeling dizzy. Hailee’s mom, Jackie, was picking up Hailee’s three younger brothers from school.

Upon arriving home, Eric and Jackie found their daughter leaning next to the wall and her friend and teammate passed out.

Hailee said to her parents, “I think we must have a gas leak.”

She was right. Carbon monoxide was filling the house because the chimney was plugged and the furnace was going.

“We are just so fortunate that Eric and Jackie came into the house,” said Bob Waldal, Beach girls basketball coach and grandfather to Hailee Farstveet.

Hailee made it outside on her own free will. However, Stedman was less fortunate. After attempting to walk out, she passed out and had to be carried out of the house.

“That’s a life-or-death situation, and basketball and sports are irrelevant,” Waldal said. “You always want to think about their health. You don’t think of anything but them.”

The ambulance arrived at the Farstveet’s house to give Hailee and Stedman oxygen. Both made full recoveries, but had lingering headaches the next couple of days.

Bailey Waldal, Hailee’s first cousin, was at the store with her mom and saw the fire department drive past and head to the Farstveets. Bailey asked her mom what was going on and she told her what had happened.

“I instantly froze a little bit,” Bailey Waldal said. “It was scary for me, because Hailee and Cydni both mean a lot to me. If people would have arrived later, I honestly don’t know what I would have done.”

Hailee said they have all come to the conclusion that if the team would have traveled to Bowman for the District 13 championship game that night or her and Stedman didn’t go to her house to watch a movie at noon, the family might not have known about the carbon monoxide leaking into the house.

“If we wouldn’t have stayed home, we would have never known about it,” she said. “We would have come home that night (after the championship game) and slept. We all could have been seriously injured or died.”

After experiencing a carbon monoxide scare, Hailee Farstveet and Stedman went back to focus on the sport they both love – basketball.

Though the two talked about the events that happened, they didn’t let it bother them going into the District 13 championship against Bowman County on March 5.

“I was going to play no matter what,” Farstveet said with a smile.

“I was going to play unless coach wouldn’t let us,” Stedman added. “We were going to play.”

Farstveet and Stedman combined for 29 points and eight rebounds in the team’s 66-46 win over the Bulldogs. However, it was Bailey Waldal who posted game highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Buccaneers to their fifth consecutive district title.

After starting the season with back-to-back losses, Beach responded with a 19-3 record in its final 22 games. The Buccaneers are at the Class B state girls basketball tournament to play Napoleon – a team that handed Beach a 60-55 loss in the first game of the season on Dec. 14 – at 1 p.m. today in the Fargodome.

McGregor writes for the Dickinson Press