Because I Can.....Be Fueled By Faith Jeffrey Bergeman's Story as told by his mother - Jess
Jeffrey Bergeman, was born healthy and progressed typically into toddlerhood. He had a rambunctious spirit and an unrestrained taste for adventure. On May 24th, 2008, at the age of 22 months, Jeffrey suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Though paramedics responded quickly, his heart arrested twice more and the resulting resuscitation efforts were lengthy. He experienced prolonged oxygen deprivation lasting between 8 to 20 minutes before adequate oxygen to his brain and sustainable heart rhythms were restored. The damage to his brain was irreversible, and he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in addition to a long list of other new diagnoses related to the global brain damage he sustained. Learning how to care for Jeffrey was a huge adjustment for our family, but over the years we have conquered those seemingly insurmountable challenges and eventually were brave enough to start seeking out "normal" activities that we could do as a family.
Jeffrey is wheelchair bound and non-verbal. Though he cannot speak with words we do have a system of "yes/no" communication with him through intentional head turning and eye gaze. Through this communication we learned some pretty amazing things about our son. He lost a number of things when his heart stopped beating, but one thing he never lost was his sense of adventure! It turns out that Jeffrey LOVES racing in running events and he even told us of some pretty ambitious goals he has for himself within the arena of endurance athletics.
Last year his father and I helped him become a first-time marathoner; and in short order we turned around and helped him achieve the title of "Marathon Maniac" (an official group of athletes who submit proof of completion of two marathons completed within 16 days of each other!) So far this year he has added titles such as Triathlete and Ragnarian to his list. He was the only athlete in a wheelchair to complete 22 of the 36 legs of the 2017 Madison-to-Chicago Ragnar; rolling for a total of 120 miles over the course of a non-stop 32 hour relay race.
Our entire family enjoys participating in these events not just for Jeffrey, but because we believe strongly in the value of inclusion. We have seen the beauty and benefit of including athletes and individuals with complex medical needs in local community events and we want others to be inspired to participate as well.
If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be out racing. Here's a guy that from day to day has more to complain about than anybody I know, and yet he's the most happiest, most positive guy I know. When I saw how much he loves it, I thought why not be the legs for him. ~Jordan Bergeman
If you would like to make a donation to the father/son race team to help with registration fees, the family has set up a GoFundMe account.
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