Julie Tollefson has come a long way, but her battle’s not over

Mike Bellmore, Features Editor
Julie Tollefson

Its been a long road back for 43-year-old Julie Tollefson.

Tollefson, the former Julie Fragodt from Harlow, was seriously injured in a traffic accident in June of 2005.

She collided with the rear end of a semi, breaking both of her feet and hours later finding out she had a damaged artery in her neck.

That, ultimately, caused a stroke which has affected her speech. The entire right side of her body has limited mobility.

The accident occurred in a construction zone where the Brinsmade road meets the new Highway 281.

“I didn't realize there was construction there,” Julie recalls. “There were no signs anywhere.”

She has undergone extensive therapy and rehabilitation since the accident.

Her stroke occurred in the Grand Forks Altru Hospital, and she was then flown to Hennepin County Medical Center, where she spent two months.

From there she went back to Grand Forks for further therapy, which has continued here in Devils Lake.

Julie, who is married to Marco Tollefson from Churchs Ferry, says it has been a long, slow process.

“What's amazing is that she is never depressed,” Marco says. “She's always so upbeat.”

“But we just have to learn to live with it. It's an ongoing process.”

Julie went to school in Leeds while Marco did in nearby Churchs Ferry.

They met in college in 1986 and are the parents of two children, Aaron, who is a junior at NDSU in Fargo, and Rachel, a sophomore this year at Devils Lake High School.

“It has been a very trying and ongoing thing for us,” says Marco.

“We're still a little unsure of how well Julie will recover or how far she will come back to us, but we're all maintaining hope. We can't say she's fully recovered yet, though.”

Right now Julie does volunteer work at the FSA Agency in Devils Lake, something she “really enjoys” according to Marco.