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KIDS WITH COURAGE: Weston Bernau

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 8:51 AM CDT
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FOUNTAIN, Minn. (KTTC) -- KTTC is honored to introduce viewers monthly to some of the youngest among us, facing the unthinkable with bravery and optimism. In our tenth “Kids With Courage” segment, Caitlin Alexander introduces us to 11-year-old Weston Bernau at his family’s farm.

Chores on the farm aren’t easy, but they include some of Weston’s favorite things.

Weston with Tractor
Weston with Tractor(KTTC)

“Be outside, playing with my animals,” he said.

Weston navigates farm work, middle school and much more from his power wheelchair.

“He’s not afraid to try different things,” said Weston’s father, Nathan. “He might need to go about it a different way, but usually it gets achieved in the end.”

Nathan and Dawn Bernau knew something was going on when their little boy was only a few months old.

“3-4 months old, how kids will just get really rigid, and he never did. Wasn’t holding his head up when he was on his tummy,” Dawn explained.

The diagnosis was congenital muscular dystrophy which affects his muscles.

“A lot of emotions go through you, but with him being our first, we just went with the flow,” Dawn said.

Weston’s parents said with the type of muscular dystrophy Weston has, he won’t necessarily get weaker. The strength he has now is what he will have moving forward.

“At first it’s a hard thing to go through,” Weston said. “You’ve got to figure out how your body works.”

That is something Weston has explained to crowds at Muscular Dystrophy Association fundraising events in the past.

The MDA is an organization that works to save and improve the lives of people living with muscular dystrophy.

Weston was nominated and chosen as the Southeast Minnesota MDA Ambassador back in 2018.

“Weston truly is all of those things. He’s a little spitfire who truly loves some of our programs that we offer with summer camp and participating with events,” said MDA National Director of Corporate Engagement and Business Development Gina Olson.

Weston loves MDA’s summer camp, which is free for families touched by neuromuscular diseases. He gets to do all sorts of fun things, like fishing and ziplining.

Back home in Fountain, he’s just as active.

“I love having him with me in the cab doing any of the, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing,” Nathan said.

Weston 4H
Weston 4H(KTTC)

Weston loves to care for and ride horses. Both he and his sister, Willa, compete in 4-H.

Weston has a great support system at home and at school.

He has to do a lot of stretches and he works with other equipment.

This past spring, he had spinal fusion surgery, but nothing can slow down this charismatic kid with courage.

“I want to be a gamer, and maybe a farmer too,” Weston said. “I want to achieve more things.”

Watch the attached news story video to see a fun change Weston and Caitlin made at the farm during our interview!

Last year and this summer, MDA has put on virtual camp programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, virtual camp is underway as of this story. Families may register to take part between now and July 12th. Next year, camp will be in person once more!

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