Enjoying the outdoors

Kristen Bering of Lafayette, who lost everything she owned in an apartment fire, enjoys a weekend at Wilderness on Wheels. Bering now has an adaptive van in which she can transport herself from one place to another. (Photo by Barbara Cramer)

When someone has been an active outdoorsman or woman, and a tragic accident or serious disease changes their lifestyle drastically, Wilderness on Wheels Foundation in Grant is there to make sure their outdoor activities continue, although perhaps in a slightly different manner.

This is true for Kristen Bering of Lafayette. About a month ago, Channel 7 News reported that Bering (already using a wheelchair due to a diabetes related, blood clotting disorder), lost everything she owned, as did 60 other people, when their apartment complex burned to the ground. Although there has been a lengthy investigation, the arsonist has not been found.

Bering, her son Logan and her service dog had lived there seven years, and neither the apartment owners or Bering had renter’s insurance.

Although Bering was trapped for one half hour in the apartment, and was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, no one was seriously injured.

With monetary help from their church, the county and others, they were housed in a hotel for four months, received needed food and clothing and more assistance later, when they moved into a wheelchair-accessible apartment.

As Channel 7 News was on the scene at the time of the fire, Bering’s daughter, who was also on the scene, she shared her mother’s story with the 7 News Team, who then decided to do an awesome charitable deed and run Bering’s story.

Since Bering had never had an adaptive van, after the news story aired, Autotrek, having seen the story, donated a used adapted van to the family.

Having previously enjoyed the great outdoors, and after Channel 7 reached out to Wilderness on Wheels, WOW donated two nights in their beautiful and accessible Ridge Top Cabin to Bering, Logan and her granddaughter Kiara.

The three had a grand time at WOW, where they enjoyed the accessible trails, fishing and the gorgeous scenery.

Sadly, shortly after the fire, Kiara’s mother died very unexpectedly, and Kristen now looks after Kiara part time.

Bering is so thankful to everyone who helped after the fire, and although her health is not the best, and she is on daily dialysis, her attitude is very positive; and with the help of so many loving and charitable people, she will continue to move forward.

“Even through the tragic times of the past year,” Bering said smiling, “I have been truly blessed.”

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