Adeline makes a miraculous recovery

Adeline Roesler-Begalke was right at home Thursday afternoon
when she returned to her pre-school class at Caledonia Area Elementary
School. She was critically injured in an accident January 4. (Photo by
Charlie Warner) 

Adeline Roesler-Begalke was concerned what her classmates might think of her pink and white helmet she needs to wear during many of the activities that are part of pre-school. She was also nervous about the bright red bandana that covered her head.



By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor

Adeline Roesler-Begalke was concerned what her classmates might think of her pink and white helmet she needs to wear during many of the activities that are part of pre-school. She was also nervous about the bright red bandana that covered her head.

adeline1.jpgThe fears of the three-year-old daughter of Mark and Mellonie Roesler-Begalke of rural Brownsville, quickly disappeared when  she returned to school last Thursday. Adeline, and the classmates she hadn’t seen in a month, played, giggled, laughed, and carried on the way pre-schoolers do. The pre-schoolers at Caledonia Area Elementary School were just happy to have their peppy, brown-eyed friend back.

For Adeline’s parents, relatives, friends, and the  doctors, surgeons, nurses, paramedics, and support teams, there’s really no words to describe her miraculous recovery.

On Jan. 4, Adeline was critically injured when she climbed on a sled, slid down the steep, icy driveway of her home overlooking the Mississippi River and struck the front end of a parked car. She struck the car with such force that her skull was fractured and surgeons in Rochester had to remove a four-inch piece of skull and skull fragments from her brain.

The driveway at the Crooked Creek Township home was so icy back in early January, Mark and Mellonie were forced to park their vehicles at the bottom of the hill and climb the steep 200-foot long driveway. They had been using a sled to carry groceries and other items up the hill. Mellonie was outside with Adeline when the youngster jumped on the sled and took off down the hill.

“It happened so fast, there wasn’t anything I could do,” Mellonie remembered. Mellonie’s sister had just stopped to visit and was getting out of her car when she saw something flying down the hill. Adeline struck the parked car so hard, the impact actually moved the vehicle.

When Mellonie pulled Adeline out from under the car, the youngster cried out “Mommy, owie,” as the blood started shooting out of a very large gash in her head. The Brownsville Ambulance Service answered the emergency call and was intercepted by Tri-State Ambulance. Adeline was taken to Franciscan-Skemp in La Crosse and then flown to St. Mary’s in Rochester where she underwent emergency surgery. A piece of skull the size of a deck of cards was removed from the right side of her head.

Adeline never lost consciousness during the trip to La Crosse or the flight to Rochester. That was a very good sign, according to Anne Moessner, a Mayo Clinic trauma brain injury clinical specialist. And following the two-hour emergency surgery, Adeline was cognisant of what was going on, was able to speak and move her limbs, which was even better news.

“The first five days were so tough,” Mark reflected last Thursday, as he and Mellonie watched their daughter interacting with her classmates. “But we got good news right away. She was mentally good, physically good. It really was a miracle.”

Adeline was in the intensive care unit at St. Mary’s for several days, and then moved to the pediatric floor. Her rapid recovery surprised many at St. Mary’s.

“We were told she might be hospitalized for two to four months. I guess they give you a worst-case scenario, just to prepare you for the worst,” Mark noted. Two weeks after the Jan. 4 accident the swelling in her brain went down, the bone flap was surgically replaced and Adeline went home two days later.

Because the trauma to Adeline’s brain was on the right side, her motor skills on the left side of her body were somewhat affected. At first, she couldn’t move her arm, hand, or fingers. She also had trouble moving her left leg, foot, or toes. Within a week, she was up walking.

Her left arm is still somewhat weak and Adeline has been receiving occupational therapy three times a week.   

Moessner was in Caledonia last Thursday to talk with school staff about issues and concerns they might have about Adeline’s injury and special precautions that need to be taken. The Mayo Clinic specialist also spent time talking to Adeline’s classmates about head injuries, what Adeline went through, and how important it is to wear a protective helmet when biking, rollerblading, and sledding.

“We just can’t say enough about the ambulance crews, the staff at Franciscan-Skemp, St. Mary’s, the community and the school district,” Mark said. “Everyone was so helpful and so supportive. And being able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester while Adeline was hospitalized was a big help. It is a wonderful facility.”

“We’d like to thank everyone for the prayers, calls, letters, and cards sent Adeline’s way,” Mellonie added.

Adeline will undergo a CT scan this week to see how the healing process is going. She will need to wear the pink and white helmet whenever there’s a chance she could bump her head for at least the next year.

“Because Adeline is so young, and a youngster’s brain is much more pliable, she had that going for her,” Moessner noted. “She’s such a bright, happy little girl. She has made so much progress in such a short time. When you consider the severity of the injury to her head, it is amazing to see her back in the classroom once again playing with her friends.”














Anne Moessner, a Mayo Clinic trauma brain injury clinical specialist, spent several hours last Thursday discussing Adeline’s injury and precautions that need to be taken with Caledonia Area Elementary School staff and Adeline’s pre-school classmates. Adeline, far left, and three of her classmates listened as Moessner talked about head injuries and how wearing protective helmets while riding bikes, rollerblading, and even sledding is very important.                 Photo by Charlie Warner 

You can contact Charlie Warner at

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