“It Helped Met get Even Closer to My Brother”

Susan Bergeman is a 14-year-old freshman at Chippewa Falls High School in Wisconsin. She decided to go out for cross country this fall. Her main reason – to find an activity that would include her older brother, Jeffrey. You see, at the young age of 22 months, Jeffrey suffered a cardiac arrest, which caused a lack of oxygen to the brain for 20 minutes. The damage was profound and irreversible. Almost everything that we take for granted in our daily lives, Jeffrey can no longer do. And yet, his soul remains intact. He has emotions and passions, but he is trapped inside his own body.

Susan has remained close with her brother. She has tremendous empathy for his situation.  She is always looking for ways to keep her brother included. So, she pushes Jeffrey in a specialized stroller the entire 5k in each cross country race. It’s a struggle, but to Susan, it’s worth it. “Hearing everyone screaming and cheering gives me a very big adrenalin rush,” said Susan.  Susan will probably never win a medal for her efforts, but running is bringing her closer to her brother.

Joe’s Perspective: This is a very touching story. It reminds me of the relationship between Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father-son duo who raced in hundreds of races together, including many marathons and triathlons.  This story again shows me that there are so many different reasons for participating in sport and so many different ways to gain satisfaction from sport. Winning and competing are sometimes secondary to the journey. Thank you to Susan and Jeffrey for teaching us this lesson once again. I will do my best to remember this lesson.

Your Turn: After watching this video and reading this blog, what are your thoughts about Susan and Jeffrey?

Comments 20

  1. I think that she is an example of a true leader and shows her characteristics as an individual. This story is also inspiring and can demonstrate it’s not all about winning medals it’s a passion not only for yourself but for teammates and in Susan’s case it was for her brother.

  2. I think this article shows that even if you might not be the best at what you do you should keep doing it if it makes you and those close to you happy

  3. Susan chose to help her brother she wasn’t told to or forced to. Most people wouldn’t do something so big like that for a sibling. They might help with small everyday things but to include them in an activity where many people will be watching and even judging is great. Susan may never win a medal because of her brother slowing her down but she doesn’t see it that way. Helping her brother is a greater achievement than any medal.

  4. I think this is a great story. to help someone complete something that most people don’t even have enough energy to do and you had to push a whole nother person so they get what they wanted in life is a great deed.

  5. Empathy is very noticed in this article, the 14 year old girl felt a lot of empathy towards her brother who suffered cardiac arrest when he was 22 months old. She ran a race and felt her brother needed to be included as well, so she ran the race with him.

  6. I think this is really inspiring because Susan chose to include Jeffery in something that she easily could have done without him. It shows that she is selfless and willing to take upon new challenges. She may never win because having her brother adds an extra challenge, but the true reward is how much it means to Jeffery.

  7. I believe that there is a bun h of empathy shown in this. The sister is doing something that many others wouldn’t think about doing. She is finding the best ways to be a leader and show a connection with her brother.

  8. I think this is amazing and it really shows the love between a brother and a sister. She didn’t have to do it but she still did it to make her brother happy.

  9. I think that it is good that she continues to push through with her brother and nothing will stop them from being together.

  10. I feel like this story is very inspiring because she did not have to do that and push her brother but she wanted to do this with her brother. It shows that you do not have to come in first to be proud of yourself.

  11. I feel like this story is very amazing and that it shows you do not have to be in first place to be proud and feel like you accomplished something. She is so amazing and very inspiring

  12. her brother used to help her by cheering her up and one day he had a cardiac arrest and couldnt get oxygen to his brain for 20 minutes and never was able to walk or do things he used to love doing againa dna big race was coming up and her sister pushed him on a stroller the entire time because she wanted to show him how thankful she was and empathic she felt i think its very cool she did this for her brother and it brought them closer

  13. I belive that she is doing something amazing that not all kids would do. They might’ve been embarrassed but she embraced it and helped her brother.

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