February 15, 2018
Asher Olson, 7, loves watching his favorite teams, the North Dakota State University Bison and Minnesota Vikings, before heading outside to play a game of football himself.
He takes on his 13-year-old brother, Jaxsyn, and always goes for a tackle.
“He gives all he’s got when he plays,” his mom, Brooke said. “He really enjoys it.”
Asher and his twin brother, Gavyn, were born 5 weeks early. They spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit, but when they went home everything seemed to be on track for the brothers.
Then at around 6 months old, Brooke and their dad, Paul, started noticing Asher wasn’t doing the same things as his brother. Asher had a small brain bleed and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
“You just think you are going to do whatever you can to get him where he needs to be,” Brooke said. “My hope is for him to just live a normal happy life and do all the things he wants to do.”
At 2, Asher started walking and quickly showed that he wasn’t afraid to do things other kids were doing, even before his twin brother.
“I thought it was going to take a long time for him to learn how to ride a bike,” Brooke said. “But he got on and just took off.”
Fine motor skills are tricky for Asher, but his therapists help him with hand writing and other arm strengthening therapy.
GABR has helped Asher’s family curb costs not covered by insurance including therapy every week and orthotics to help him walk.
“To know that you don’t have to fully pay out of your pocket really has helped,” Brooke said. “There are no other programs out there to help us, so it’s really great that GABR is there to help kids like Asher.”
The Olsons have been riding in honor of Asher for 5 years, giving him plenty of time to walk around and admire everyone’s costumes. He loves that the day is all about him.
“When his therapist asked him to be a star, he stood there with his hands over his mouth in excitement,” Brooke said. “This year, we’re going to be Asher’s All-Stars.”
By supporting GABR, you help local kids, like Asher, reach their full potential no matter what obstacles stand in their way. Start or join a team today at gabr.sanfordhealth.org/bismarck.