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Monday, February 15, 2021

Birchlegger Brad Peterson has Suffered a Serious Stroke

Many of you may know Brad Peterson as a very accomplished and humble Nordic Skier. He joined the Birkebeiner family in the 2nd year of the race in 1974 and has completed 45 Birkies, most recently as a Birkie Ambassador. He and his wife Susan met through x-c ski racing and have competed at the highest level in many World Master’s Nordic events. They often traveled to these events with other Twin Cities legends including Bjorn Lasserud, Dick Hedenstrom and Ahvo Taipale. Brad on the left is pictured with Ernie St. Germaine and John Kotar.

Brad suffered a major Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA, stroke) on September 27, 2020. He spent 3 weeks in the Neuro-Intensive Care unit at Regions Hospital and 7 weeks at Regency Hospital after his CVA. Initially, he was on a ventilator and later was transitioned to a tracheostomy and feeding tube when he stabilized and needed these important support modalities.

His wife Susan Rockwood, and three sons (Matt, Alex and Ford) decided that Brad would be happier and safer from COVID-19 if they could get him back to their farm north of Stillwater, MN. On December 4, 2020, Brad came home with 24 hours per day of nursing care. His medical condition is now relatively stable but fragile. Brad recognizes family and is aware of his surroundings and at peace, even though he is unable to communicate verbally. The right side of his body is paralyzed and he needs substantial help with any movement. He is making very gradual improvements in awareness and non-verbal communication, but remains dependent on a feeding tube and still has a tracheostomy.

Susan and his sons are very glad to have him at home where he can be comfortable and with people that love him. Of course, COVID-19 has made this situation even more challenging with restrictions on visitors and volunteer support. Fortunately, Susan has been able to find excellent nursing support which is in very high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost of his nursing support is twenty thousand dollars per month and is not covered by his Medicare or supplement insurance.

Brad's family is asking his many friends to please help defray expenses. At this time, it is uncertain how long this level of support will be necessary, but it could be needed for many months or longer. If you would like to help Brad, his family has setup a Go Fund Me Site.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Brad and his family.

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