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Paynesville Press - July 19, 2006

Loved ones attend to 1977 PHS graduate's survival from brain tumor

By Addi Larson

On July 30, 2005, Kris Anderson, a 1977 PHS graduate, suffered a hemorrhage to her brain that left her in rehabilitation and therapy for months. Doctors then discovered that the bleeding had been caused by a brain tumor.

In February, she had surgery to remove the tumor - followed by a month in intensive care - and was transferred to a skilled nursing facility in St. Louis Park, where she currently is staying.

Classmates of Kris will be accepting freewill donations toward her recovery at the all-school reunion this weekend.

The family has created a website for Kris that offers the story of her progress with journaled updates, photos, and a guestbook. Presently, over 8,000 visits have been counted on her site, www.caringbridge. org/visit/krisanderson.

Among many well wishes and words of support in the guestbook entries, one reads, "Wow, what can I possibly say! I only recently found out about my high school friend, and classmate. I am still in a state of disbelief. I can truly say that my thoughts and prayers are with Kris and her whole family. I will now follow your progress very closely. Please stay strong. I will be praying every day. Take care my friend."

Last week, Kris completed a six-week radiation therapy course, trying to rid the part of the tumor that was not removed with surgery. She is continuing to make progress and has already beaten the odds, according to her sister, Gretchen Anderson. "The kind of tumor she has is very serious," Gretchen said. "I don't think the doctors thought she would make it."

Further tests and scans will be performed to monitor her progress in the upcoming weeks.

Kris' husband Tedd Halvorson has been a constant support, spending many hours at the hospital and care facility, even sleeping in the chair next to her bed. Kris' brother, Andy, visits from Denver when he can, and contacts the family frequently. Kris' sisters, Karla and Gretchen, and her father, Don, who still resides in Paynesville, have also been with her as much as possible. Other family members have been offering as much support as they can give.

A benefit was held for Kris on Sunday, July 9, at the Eagles Club in Minneapolis. Gretchen posted her gratitude on Kris' website, "The benefit was a HUGE success, and demonstrates the power of love and compassion you have all shown for our families." A guestbook was signed by over 200 people. "We know there were a lot more people there than actually signed it," Gretchen said.

Another guest wrote, "Dear Kris, Tedd, and families, The benefit was one of the most moving events I've ever been to. I want to thank all those who organized and participated to pull together such a wealth of talent - music, food, entertainment for kids - generosities of all kinds. I am so privileged to be Kris' friend and to know those who love her so deeply. Thank you to everyone!! The day was tremendous."

Halvorson is a musician, which has led the couple into many friendships with other musicians. "That's what made the benefit," said Gretchen. "She and Tedd have a lot of friends in that area." The benefit included live music by friends of the couple, a silent auction, and a raffle. After high school in 1977, Kris left Paynesville to attend Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, followed by a move to southeast Minneapolis, where she attended the University of Minnesota and owned a deli in Dinkytown for 16 years called Dinky Dale Deli. In 1996, she married Halvorson. Their home is in southeast Minneapolis.

Gretchen said her sister's passion for life has been reflected in a love for politics and factual knowledge and that she has always been "very artistic, so she just continued working with her likes in that area."

Kris' motor coordination and hearing were quite affected by the hemorrhage, according to Gretchen. A tracheotomy has required alternative feeding and non-verbal communication.

Anderson is currently able to mouth words for others to interpret and loved ones communicate to her mainly by writing on a dry-erase board. "We ask her if she's in any pain," Gretchen said, "She says, 'No pain, thank God, and I'm happy.'"

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