36-year-old Verndale man recovering after heart attack: Benefit is planned Jan. 14

If not for his youth, Runyan likely wouldn’t have survived damaging heart attack in October 2022

Nathan runyan.jpg
Nathan Runyan is recovering from a heart attack in October 2022. A benefit for Runyan is planned for Saturday, Jan. 14
Contributed photo

VERNDALE — A free-will offering spaghetti feed benefit and silent auction are planned for Nathan Runyan of Verndale, who suffered a major heart attack in October 2022. The benefit is scheduled from 4-7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Verndale Community Center. The auction is set to close at 7 p.m.

Runyan, 36, is a 2005 graduate of Verndale Public School. He was employed as a delivery driver for Drastic Measures Brewing in Wadena, traveling the countryside delivering locally produced beer.

Runyan suffered a tear, or dissection, in the inner layer of the aorta, during his heart attack on Oct. 11, 2022. On that day he was rushed to Tri-County Health Care in Wadena. His mother Betty Runyan is thankful for the quick actions of Tri-County Health Care staff who made the decision to rush Nathan on to Minneapolis North Memorial Hospital where he was treated and eventually moved to Abbott Northwestern Cardiovascular Heart Center. Family members say Nathan has been receiving excellent care but has a long road to recovery, according to journal posts on .

“Doctors are pretty amazed with how he's survived,” Betty said. He had age on his side in this situation.

Since October, Nathan has been undergoing physical therapy to regain strength that was lost during a long period of rest and recovery. Betty said the aorta dissection radiated down his left side, causing damage to the left side of his heart and kidneys. His liver is OK but his lungs were intubated soon after the incident. He will be on dialysis for a while until his health improves.


Doctors placed a pump inside him to keep his damaged heart functioning. He now has a pacemaker in place to assist his heart. He’s back to eating, chatting and starting to exercise his body in order to move about on his own again. Betty said he is still months away from coming home, though in a much better place physically.

“He’s on the road soon to go to the Courage Kenny (Rehabilitation Institute),” Betty said. That will be a step away from the care he’s receiving at Abbott, with more focus on rehabilitating his body back to normal. The pump assisting his heart will remain in place until “when and if he chooses to have a heart transplant,” Betty added.

The family is encouraged through this ordeal by the outpouring of support from those who know about the situation.

“So many people have shown support and we appreciate it greatly,” Betty said. The family continues to make weekly trips to visit with Nathan and gets regular updates from his doctors on his health.

Those interested in donating funds to the benefit or items for the silent auction should contact organizer Naomi Moyer at 763-913-5745. Donated items may be dropped off at Hinkle Realty in Wadena. Those unable to attend the event may also donate online at Gofundme .com and searching for “Nathan Runyan.”

Wadena Pioneer Journal newsroom
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