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Bergs have had need for blood in family

Ian Berg has spent over half of his life dealing with an immunological disorder.

At age 10, Berg was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which targets the large intestine and the first layer of the colon, according to Berg’s mother, Lisa.

“It attacks his body,” she said Thursday, explaining it causes ulcers in the bowel, leading to diarrhea, constipation, bloody stools and the like.

Her son was a fifth grader at Lindgren Elementary School at the time of the diagnosis, she said. He suffered through the disorder during his transition from grade school to Ellsworth Middle School. Then, in sixth grade, he experienced a “flare” (meaning it had acted up) significant enough to be hospitalized.

“He required several blood transfusions,” she said, indicating he was released and came home, but soon developed a “bug” which could have affected anyone yet was worse in someone recovering from that flare.

The ordeal left him dehydrated, she said.

“He was a pale white,” she said, mentioning he’d received two units of blood over his five-day hospital stay.

Since then, Ian Berg has joined Lisa Berg (whose record of giving blood dates to when she was in high school) in making life-saving donations as often as possible, she said. When her two sons were still in school, they gave blood at Ellsworth High School, but more recently at Zion Covenant Church in Ellsworth. The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be at Zion on Monday, Aug. 25, from noon to 6 p.m.

Once the younger of her sons encountered the disorder, his then-doctor in Red Wing referred him to a gastroenterologist in the Twin Cities, she said. Medications to control it were prescribed and, though he was in the hospital off-and-on until age 14, he’s stayed relatively well afterward. Now 21 and a student at UW-Madison, he takes oral medications daily and sees a doctor annually.

For more please read the August 13 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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