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Wendy Reuer and Emily Welker, Forum staff writers, Published September 25 2013

Community continues to rally around Lexi Bolstad and her family

FARGO – Since Alexis (Lexi) Bolstad’s Aug. 4 accident that left her with a brain injury, the community has rallied around her and her family, offering support in any way they can.

After more than a month at Essentia Health in Fargo, Bolstad transferred on Sept. 9 to a rehab facility in Denver. On Tuesday, the Bolstad family received some good news, said Robin Bolstad, Lexi’s mother.

Lexi is expected to be discharged from the rehab facility on Nov. 12.

In the meantime, her lengthy hospital stays and medical care will likely take a financial toll on her family.

Fargo-Moorhead residents have been stepping up to help the family by organizing fundraisers.

Some know Bolstad; some don’t.

Allan Skramstad had no connection to the Bolstads, but when he heard what had happened to Lexi, he felt compelled to act. His daughter, Shannon, who was 26, a single foster parent and ready to graduate with a degree in social work from the University of North Dakota, was killed in a car accident 11 years ago.

“It was a life-changing event for us, and I think this will be for Lexi and her parents also,” Skramstad said. “I hope everything works out okay.”

Skramstad decided to host a fundraiser from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for the Bolstads. The event at Vic’s Aircraft Sales and Flight Training in Fargo will feature $20 airplane rides, vintage cars, static aircraft and a hypnotist. There will be a free-will donation lunch, where some of Lexi’s friends will help serve food.

Dean Larsen, owner of Pizza Ranch in Dilworth and Fargo, knows the Bolstads. He is a good friend to Jon, Lexi’s father.

On Oct. 16 and 17, during a regular “Community Impact Night” at his restaurants, Larsen will donate 25 percent of sales from 5 to 8 p.m. to the Bolstad’s.

Those close to the family, including Jon’s second family, Fargo firefighters – Jon Bolstad is a captain at the Fargo Fire Department – will be on hand to bus tables.

“We wanted to do something because we knew the expenses will be exorbitant,” Larsen said.

The fundraiser will be at the Dilworth Pizza Ranch location on Oct. 16 and in Fargo on Oct. 17.

“We would like to raise at least $2,000 at each store,” Larsen said. “We do not raise our prices for these.”

On Oct. 22, the Davies volleyball team will host Rally for Lexi during the 7 p.m. game. The team is asking attendees to wear purple.

Katelyn Olson, a senior at Davies and one of Lexi’s friends, will be there. She said that at schools throughout the metro, volleyball teams have been wearing purple in honor of Lexi and collecting money during a “Miracle Minute” at their first home games.

Robin Bolstad said the amount of love and support shown her daughter and family by the community has left her speechless. She and her husband struggle to find ways to repay all the kindness they have been shown, she said.

She tries to read to her daughter the cards and letters that have been sent. This week, brightly colored fresh flowers sit on Lexi’s table in Colorado. The flowers were sent to her by “Anonymous” of Fargo.

Larsen said he believes the Bolstads would do the same if it was anyone else.

“Both Jon and Robin are very community oriented. They would do anything for you,” he said.

Olson said Lexi has brought students at Davies together.

“She’s the kind of girl you want to play with. The ideal teammate,” Olson said.

Since arriving at the Craig Hospital in Denver, Bolstad has made small steps toward progress on her long journey to a full recovery.

She spent weeks in Essentia Health under heavy sedation following her accident and brain surgery.

“In general, physically she’s doing pretty good,” Robin Bolstad said this week. “Her biggest challenges are the speech and the eating.”

She said doctors have not yet seen an indication that she would not be able to speak in the future.

“We’re starting to see some positive signs, but we really don’t have any idea yet on final outcomes, what to expect,” Bolstad said. “Her communication skills are there. It’s just a matter of turning her voice on.”

Last weekend, Lexi took her biggest steps to date – literally. Between two parallel bars, she walked for the first time since her accident on Aug. 4.

The Bolstad family has been updating Lexi’s Caring Bridge site nearly every day. Her journal can be found at www.caringbridge.org/alexisbolstad.

If you go

What: Fundraiser for Lexi Bolstad

When: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Vic's Aircraft Sales and Flight Training, 1631 19th Avenue North in Fargo

What: Pizza Ranch community night for Lexi

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 16 and 17

Where: Oct. 16 in Dilworth location, Oct. 17 in Fargo

25 percent of all sales during that time will be given to the Bolstad family

Readers can reach Forum reporters Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530 and Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541