By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Eight years ago, Bryant Bohlig was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. On Saturday, he completed a half marathon at CentraCare’s Earth Day Run in St. Cloud.

Stepping across the finish line is extra sweet when it’s an accomplishment that once seemed impossible.

“I would never think I would ever play activities again, but the power of God and prayer and lovely doctors – it saved my life,” Bohlig said.

He went from rushing yards on the football field one day, to getting rushed to the hospital the next.

“They didn’t think it was that serious, then the next morning they said, ‘You need to go now for a heart transplant at the University of Minnesota,’ and we just broke down,” said June Bohlig, Bryant’s mom.

Thankfully, doctors were able to pinpoint the problem and get it fixed, but he was still really sick. Bohlig says he lost hope he’d ever be able to play sports again, but he did after lots of hard work.

He ran this marathon to inspire other kids who are in the same position he was at age 14.

“My motivation is to finish this half marathon and hopefully have that story on the board so when those kids are walking, they can have hope because I lost hope when I left,” Bohlig said.

“I am just so proud of him, he worked really hard when the heart situation started to get back to playing sports, and he worked hard to keep his heart strong. It’s a miracle,” said Bob Bohlig, Bryant’s dad.

Bohlig’s strong support system was waiting for him at the finish line, including his doctor.

“It is just so gratifying to see that with proper diagnosis, follow up and care we can actually still save people’s lives. Make them not just manage, but thrive,” Dr. Chip Martin-Chaffee said.

“It was great, it was great, something beyond anything I ever thought I would see in my lifetime,” said Karen Kierzek, Bohlig’s grandma.

Bohlig also used the run as a fundraiser. He hopes to raise $1,000 to buy toys for kids who also experience heart issues.

Jeff Wagner