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Kevin Wallevand, Forum News Service, Published November 14 2013

VIDEO: Lexi Bolstad walking with help; Davies student injured in accident hopes to be home by Thanksgiving

DENVER – In one brief moment this summer, Lexi Bolstad’s life was changed forever by a freak accident that caused a nearly fatal brain injury.

After she fell out of an electric vehicle Aug. 4, the then-17-year-old Davies High School student’s condition was touch-and-go for days. Now her family is hopeful as she recovers at the renowned Craig Hospital in Denver.

Lexi is beginning to walk with assistance, and her family says they’re aiming to have her on her feet and home by Thanksgiving.

“From where we were at Essentia – for three weeks she was unconscious – to where we are now, where she can walk with a walker with a little bit of help, and what she is doing in therapy, it is amazing what the human body can do,” said Lexi’s father, Jon Bolstad.

Progress may appear slow to some, but after nearly losing her, Lexi’s family cherishes it. The former Davies basketball player, who recently turned 18, is turning to the sport she loves in her rehab – using basketball to help recover.

“It’s full days, yeah,” said Jon Bolstad, a captain in the Fargo Fire Department.

On a recent day, Lexi was being helped by Therese Guthrie, who grew up in Fargo. She’s been an occupational therapist for years at Craig Hospital, where a dozen North Dakota residents have stayed in the past month as they recovered from spinal and brain injuries – the specialty at the Denver hospital.

“If I can’t motivate her and pick what she likes and chooses, I’m not doing my job,” Guthrie said of Lexi. “I want to do a good job – a good job for everyone, but especially if they were born and raised in North Dakota.”

Lexi does therapy daily, including speech therapy. She communicates with her big smile, or with her hands or bright eyes. Again, her family is reminded how far she has come. Wins may be small on some days, but they are still wins.

“Walk around the hallways here and you see the shape that some of the patients are in, and Lexi is doing great compared to some of them,” her father said. “It’s really a humbling thing to come here and see the injuries some of the people have and how far they can come.”

One thing certainly has changed for the Bolstad family: perspective.

“It really has. Little things don’t bother you anymore because life is so precious, you know? You just don’t care about that; all you care about is seeing Lex recover. It’s made our family a lot closer, I know that,” Jon Bolstad said.