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September 13, 2011 06:13 PM

Teen Survives Strokes & Brain Surgery

Brandon, SD

Softball has played a big role in Morgan Johnson's life.  But the 13-year-old Beaver Creek, Minnesota, girl is now taking one step at a time, focusing on walking and rebuilding her strength.

"To get this leg going because it's weak; it kind of still is," Morgan said.

That's because Morgan had a series of mini strokes in July. Doctors diagnosed her with the herpes simplex virus or HSV.  It caused an infection in her brain, which led to brain swelling and bleeding.

"Morgan is very healthy. She's never sick. She eats healthy. She's athletic, and then to be on the brink of the doctor telling you he needed to do surgery or she was going to die, it's not something easy to take," mother Kris Johnson said.

Doctors removed part of Morgan's skull and two sections of her brain.

"One was up here in the frontal part, and one was back here to allow for the swelling. As her brain was quickly swelling, it was pushing on the optical nerve and all the vision. So that she wouldn't go blind and lose her vision, they removed those pieces to allow room for swelling," Kris said.

Doctors will soon put the piece of Morgan's skull back in. For now, she has to wear a helmet to protect her brain. She's also on anti-seizure medication.

"The doctors had stated she was the 14th person documented with this diagnosis and to have this procedure," Kris said.

Now, Morgan and her family and friends are pushing forward; they're raising money to help pay for medical expenses.

"We don't take things for granted. I think too many people nowadays just go through life, and everything is taken for granted.  But, we're very blessed and thankful for Morgan to be with us. Someone said she's always been special. We always thought something was special about her, but I think there's a plan for her," Kris said.

Right now Morgan's plan is to be back at softball practice, come January.

"To get back on the field and to be able to play softball I guess," Morgan said.

If you would like to help the Johnson family pay for medical expenses, there will be a silent auction and free-will donation meal on Saturday, September 17.  The fundraiser is at Double D Saloon in Brandon starting at 3:30 p.m.

There is also a donation jar at Blaine's Service in Brandon, and an account is set up in Morgan's name at First National Bank in Brandon.
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