Students give lung transplant patient a warm welcome back | The Dickinson Press | Dickinson, North D
By: Robin Huebner, Forum News Service
FARGO — An 11-year-old Fargo boy who moved with his family to Houston nearly a year ago for a double-lung transplant received a rousing North Dakota State University Bison welcome when he returned to school Monday.
With lights flashing and sirens blaring, Jordan Peterson and his 8-year-old brother Jesse were delivered to Oak Grove Elementary in an old fire truck that’s been turned into a Bison tailgating vehicle.
Students cheered and chanted “Jordan, Jordan!” as he made his way into the school, where he is a fifth-grader.
Jordan even met NDSU football coach Craig Bohl, who showed up for a surprise visit.
It was a fitting welcome for Jordan, Jesse and parents Dan and Annette Peterson, who are all avid Bison fans.
The family returned to North Dakota Friday, just two days after Jordan was allowed to leave Texas Children’s Hospital.
They arrived in time for ESPN’s “College GameDay” broadcast from downtown Fargo. They also enjoyed Bison tailgating and NDSU’s 51-0 football victory against Delaware State.
The family left North Dakota last October for the chance at a lifesaving transplant for Jordan, who battles the chronic lung condition, cystic fibrosis.
Jordan received his new lungs on June 18. Aside from a few setbacks, his transplant was a success, with the new lungs showing no sign of rejection.
Now, he’s back to the business of being a kid again, and his classmates quickly welcomed him into the fold.
They surrounded him at his desk, joking and laughing, and introduced him to the class pet, a hamster.
Then everyone gathered in the gymnasium for an assembly featuring the appearance by Bohl, who praised Jordan for having strength through adversity.
Bohl stated that while some people look up to athletes as heroes, Jordan is “a true hero.”
Oak Grove Elementary Principal Josh Kading then took to the podium to welcome Jordan back.
Kading called Jordan’s faith “unflappable and unshakeable,” and said Jordan was able to get through something “a lot of adults wouldn’t be able to handle.”
Kading invited several classmates to share a Bible verse and special sentiments with Jordan.
Said one student, “We missed you 90 million times more than you missed us,” and nearly each one ended by saying “Go Bison!”
Lastly, Jordan’s mom addressed the crowd.
“I cannot tell you the happy dance this heart is doing right now,” she said, holding her hands over her heart.
“Thank you so much for holding us. That is the fuel that has kept us going,” Annette Peterson said.
The event wrapped up much like the school sendoff for Jordan nearly one year ago, with Jordan and his classmates giving each other high-fives.
This time, instead of the students running past Jordan, he was the one doing the running – something he was unable to do before the transplant.
In fact, he’s been given the go-ahead by his doctors to play hockey.
Just before Jordan settled into his classroom, he reflected on the morning and on finally being back in his own school.
While meeting coach Bohl was “pretty sweet,” Jordan said the highlight of the day was seeing his friends again.
“His life has been spared for a reason,” said Dan Peterson.
And the family can’t wait to see what that reason might be.
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