A Bristol woman is fighting for her life after a massive aneurysm left her stranded on the island of St. Maarten.
CeCe Kline was on a cruise with her family, when their worst nightmares became reality.
“She was completely fine, and then it just hit her all of the sudden,” says Lindsey Reimer, CeCe’s niece.
Reimer says her aunt complained of a headache moments before she collapsed on the beach.
“She went straight forward into the water and just passed out cold,” says Reimer.
CeCe was taken to a hospital on the island.
“She was very close to death,” says her brother Tim Carter, who stayed behind with CeCe.
“You always hear about it happening to other people but you never think it will happen to you. Until it does,” says Reimer.
In desperate need of a surgery the hospital could not provide, CeCe and her brother were trapped.
“They just threw us to the wolves we had to figure it all out ourselves,” says Carter.
With no help from the United States Embassy or the cruise line, they had to figure out how to fly CeCe home for life-saving treatment.
“You’ve got to have 40 thousand dollars cash upfront, and it’s hard to do that in five minutes,” says Carter. “It was one obstacle right after the other.”
As CeCe and her brother waited in St. Maarten, the rest of the family had to get back on the cruise ship.
“It was devastating, leaving my dad and my aunt in a foreign country and our ship pulling off and just knowing they were there and didn’t know how to help them,” says Reimer.
The family says CeCe’s medical insurance had lapsed, which left her stranded with no insurance and no help.
“I felt like she was left there to die. She was deserted by the system,” says Carter.
It took CeCe four days to get back to the United States- four crucial days which could mean life or death after an aneurysm.
“We don’t even know if she’s gonna live or die at this point. It’s very scary it could go either way, we don’t know,” says Reimer.
CeCe is still in seriously critical condition at Johnson City Medical Center.
The family is grateful the community is now stepping up to help her.
“People are praying like crazy, the donations are coming in like crazy, I couldn’t believe it,” says Reimer.
The family set up a Go Fund Me account to help with CeCe’s extensive medical bills.