After surviving heart attack at age 2, boy lives life to fullest

- He was never expected to survive, let alone thrive. This is what Jeffrey Bergeman does; he proves people wrong.   

He was born healthy, but at 22 months he went into sudden cardiac arrest. Paramedics revived him, but his body was deprived of oxygen for so long that he suffered traumatic brain damage that left him unable to walk and talk. It was an undiagnosed heart defect and a life changer for the Bergeman family of Chippewa Falls.

He was not expected to do so many things, but the Bergemans have learned to expect the unexpected.

“The doctors definitely said for a kid that age to survive a cardiac event like that was in itself a miracle,” says Jeffrey’s father Jordan Bergeman. “We had to establish a yes/no communication system where he’ll turn his head left or right to say yes or no.”

One thing they learned early on is that Jeffrey loves to go fast and being outside in the fresh air brings him lots of joy. Jeffrey’s mom started running with Jeffrey in an adaptive jogger and the family just keeps making the road trips longer and longer. On May 6, Jordan ran the Eau Claire Marathon with Jeffrey. There were hundreds of people cheering for them the entire 26.2-mile course.  

“There’s hundreds of people screaming at the top of their lungs for a boy that at one time so many people discounted,” Jordan said.  

An added bonus, Jordan ran the marathon in three hours and three minutes, qualifying him for the Boston Marathon next year. They are currently looking into whether or not that qualifying time is fast enough for them to get in and whether or not there are age restrictions for the adaptive joggers on the Boston course.

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