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Steve Wagner, Forum Communications , Published April 15 2012

Minnesota boy gradually improves after April 6 sailboat accident that claimed lives of two brothers

MINNEAPOLIS — An 8-year-old Leonard boy is gradually improving from injuries he suffered in a sailboat accident April 6.

Isaiah Risland remains at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, where he’s showing positive signs of recovery from hypothermia.

“Isaiah is still gaining consciousness occasionally and responding to voice,” wrote Sara Staley, an aunt, in the boy’s online journal on the CaringBridge website.

Dan Risland and his boys — Isaiah, Zechariah, 6, and Jacob, 2 — were sailing on Clearwater Lake when it sunk.

The father swam to shore to summon help after being unable to get the boys to land.

The boys were wearing life jackets, but spent about an hour in 40-degree water until first responders could reach them. Zechariah and Jacob died, apparently from hypothermia, while emergency crews revived Isaiah, who was then airlifted to the Twin Cities.

“When he is conscious and someone speaks to him, he will turn his head or eyes toward them,” Staley wrote Saturday. “His oxygen levels have been staying up, and he has overrun the ventilator a couple of times, taking more breaths than the ventilator is set to.

“He has been off the temperature control blanket for two days, and his body has maintained correct temperature.”

How to help

Meanwhile, several events are planned this week.

• Tonight, music and storytelling is planned from 7 to 10 p.m. at Crossroads Church, 3354 Laurel Drive N.W., Bemidji. The event is free, but offerings will help defray the family’s medical costs.

• There also will be funeral services for Isaiah’s two brothers, Zechariah and Jacob, on Tuesday in Clearbrook.

• A benefit for the boys is planned from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Evangelical Covenant Church, 5405 Hart Lane N.W., Bemidji. The event includes a spaghetti dinner, bake sale and auction.

• Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo bank by submitting the money to the “Sara Staley for the benefit of the Risland Memorial Fund” with the account number 1764865869. Online transfers must include Sara Staley and the email address of IsaiahRisland@hotmail.com.

• Donations also can be sent to the Dan Risland fund, Country Faith Church, P.O. Box 41, Clearbrook MN 56634.

Isaiah’s CaringBridge website has generated about 24,000 visits since last Sunday and more than 500 people have signed the guestbook.

Online: Visit Isaiah Risland’s CaringBridge page online at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/isaiahrisland/createorsignin.