Braxton Peterson is one tough hombre, not typically the type of guy to request assistance, but he's asking for help this Sunday.
"Braxton was in a serious car accident on Aug. 28th. He now is recovering, but needs help to offset his mounting medical bills," said his mother, Lia Brown.
Some might remember the 21-year-old from his youth. He grew up in Kasilof after moving there when he was 8 years old. He attended Skyview High School from 2001 to 2005. After high school he has split his time between commercial fishing in summer and working as a handler for professional mushers in winter.
"He's worked with Lance Mackey for the last few years," Brown said, referring to the former Kasilof musher who became the only person to win the Yukon Quest and Iditarod sled dog races in the same year -- not once, but twice -- in 2007 and 2008.
Braxton was learning a lot from his mushing mentor, but was looking forward to earning his own success in the sled dog racing world. Last season he placed 10th in his first two professional races, the grueling Cooper Basin 300 and Gin Gin 200.
"Not bad for someone just starting out," Brown said.
Wanting to pursue mushing beyond the cold weather months, Peterson took a position this past summer giving sled dog tours in Seward with 2004 Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey.
"He liked to come to Kenai on his day off, to see family and friends," Brown said, but it was on one of these excursions that tragedy struck.
"He was doing something we're all guilty off. He was driving while tired, but he ended up falling asleep at the wheel," Brown said.
Peterson wrecked his vehicle and was severely injured in the accident.
"He was in ICU for five days. He had a lot of internal bleeding. They had to reconstruct his whole left arm using a lot of metal, which won't feel good when he starts mushing again. He still has to have surgery to repair a hernia. He also damaged his left check, but opted not to have surgery because he was scared of going blind in that eye," Brown said.
As a handler, Peterson didn't have insurance, Brown said, so there will be a fundraiser this Sunday at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai from noon to 4 p.m. to benefit the banged-up boy.
"We will be having a spaghetti feed and silent auction, the band 'The Goodkind' will be playing, and Lance Mackey will be there to support Braxton and sign autographs, along with Mitch Seavey and the Osmars," she said.
An account in Peterson's name has also been established at Wells Fargo Bank. To make a donation contact Mercy Medley-Graham by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 907-283 -7581.
Brown said she hopes the fundraiser will be a success, much like Peterson's recovery so far.
"He's a very lucky kid just to have survived, but he has a strong will and he's not a quitter, so I'm sure he'll overcome this too. He's young and healthy, so other than a sagging cheek, he should bounce back and recover," she said.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at email@example.com.
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