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Kristin Cline

Kristin Cline

Kristin Cline was walking to the snack table at a Super Bowl party when she collapsed.

That was the start of more than a year of struggles with brain tumors. Cline, whose father was a longtime sheriff’s deputy in Natrona County and whose aunt works with the Casper Police Department, will likely never be able to pay her medical expenses. But a Casper police organization is trying to raise money to help her financial burden and improve her quality of life.

After her February collapse, Cline’s boyfriend drove her to Campbell County Memorial Hospital, just minutes from the party. Hospital staff had her flown to Aurora, Colorado, where doctors found a large tumor on her brainstem.

After two successful surgeries, Cline was recovering. She had to learn again how to talk and walk, which she did. She had to return to work by late April to keep her job, which she did. A scan of her brain in May looked good.

Then in June, she lost her vision. A life flight helicopter again flew her to the University of Colorado hospital in Aurora, where doctors identified another tumor. The surgeries continued, and so did the radiation.

Cline had been having difficulty caring for herself and decided to move to her mother’s home in Nevada, in order to avoid shuttling between Aurora for treatment and her home in Gillette. She has no medical insurance, and her air ambulance rides alone cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Needing to raise money for the move, Cline’s aunt, Jacci Warne, began selling stickers of Wyoming’s bucking horse adorned with a blue stripe among employees of the Casper Police Department. Warne, a community service officer for the agency and one-time dispatcher, approached Tiffany Elhart.

Elhart, a detective and Fraternal Order of Police lodge leader, soon had found an anonymous donor who had a gun to contribute.

So Elhart and Mitch Baker, who is also a detective and FOP leader, started selling raffle tickets for the gun, a Glock 43 with night sights. Thus far, they’ve been selling tickets inside the agency and to employees of the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, where Cline’s father used to work.

Baker told the Star-Tribune last week that support has been strong, though he did not know offhand the number of tickets the organization had sold. The detective said the organization is willing to open the raffle to members of the public who are legally allowed to possess firearms if interest is expressed.

“We want to find whatever avenue we can to fix this situation,” Baker said. “Even if we can’t pay off a substantial amount of her medical bills, we want to make sure that we’re able to give her some quality of life.”

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Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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