WINCHESTER — When Kristen Berg suffered a rare hemorrhagic stroke at age 32 in June of 2021, the Berg family had their lives turned upside down.

The stroke left Kristen, who just turned 33 on Monday, with the inability to speak and walk. It’s also left the family in need of several devices to ensure her care at home through the recovery process.

To help with that, the group Friends of the Berg Family, comprised of friends, neighbors, colleagues and fellow members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Winchester, will hold a benefit yard sale from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 153 Stonebrook Road in the Stonebrook Farms development near Winchester.

According to organizers, the 40-plus family yard sale will also include a bake sale, beverages and face painting. Collector items, sports equipment, tools, toys and books will be among the items for sale.

Payment and financial donations can be made by cash, credit card, fundraising app, etc. Donations can be made at givebutter.com/kristenberg.

“We have been so humbled with the outpouring of cards and letters and people telling us that they’re praying for all of us. Just the idea of having the yard sale to benefit Kristen was a gift of love, from people we know but also from a lot of people we don’t know,” said Deborah Berg, Kristen’s mother. “It keeps us knowing that God has us covered, even though Kristen hasn’t been healed in the way that maybe everyone would want a miracle to happen. But she’s working wonders through people in her own special way.”

Deborah and her husband Mark, who is a retired physician and former Virginia House of Delegates member, have been Kristen’s primary caregivers since October of 2021.

When Kristen had her stroke in June of that year, she spent about a month in the intensive care unit at INOVA in Fairfax, her mother said.

Kristen was in and out of physical rehabilitation centers and hospitals after that initial month before being discharged last October.

“They were going to send her to a skilled nursing facility, but her family opted out of that because they wanted Kristen to see her friends and family,” Deborah said. “We needed to bring her home. We had spent a lot of time in the hospital, watching what the doctors were doing and talking to therapists. They felt that because Mark is a doctor and I’m a dietician that we could care for her. We’ve been doing that since Oct. 6.”

Deborah said she was able to take 12 weeks of time off from her job with Valley Health to help in the initial weeks of caring for Kristen at home. After those 12 weeks, she had to cut her full-time job down to just one day a week, she said.

Deborah said they try to get Kristen out of the house for things like church and doctors visits. She also said Kristen very much enjoys seeing her friends and family members for visits.

“I think because friends and family can visit her, that definitely makes a difference in her mood and recovery,” Deborah said. “When she sees or hears close friends, she smiles big smiles. We know she’s aware of everything, but that’s sad too because she’s aware of her situation.”

Deborah said people have been extremely generous with meals and donations, helping with a power wheelchair, a portable wheelchair and other financial donations.

Kristen's needs still include ongoing physical and speech therapy, medication, medical tests and other future devices that will help with her recovery.

Deborah said she hopes to be able to communicate with her daughter again soon.

“We know she can hear and understand and comprehend what everyone says to her, she just can’t respond to them. Our prayer is that she gets the ability to speak or somehow communicate with a special device,” Deborah said. “Once we know what she’s thinking and feeling, we can help her more. It’s quite a challenge to not know those things more than 'yes' or 'no'. We would just love to know how to help her better by her communicating that with us.”

— Contact Matt Welch at mwelch@winchesterstar.com

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.
Stay on topic. The comment section is for remarks specifically regarding the article or opinion piece. It is not a forum to attack someone with another perspective. If you disagree with a commenter, civilly provide your reasons why. Comments will be sent to a moderator for approval or denial before they are posted.