Laura Peterson has always wanted to be an elementary school teacher. With her giving spirit and infectious laugh friends so often invoke when they speak of her, it seems Peterson would be a shoo-in for the job.
However, life has created some formidable hurdles since she graduated from Monticello High School in 2001, but now not even a devastating medical diagnosis can keep Peterson from chasing her dreams and seeking happiness through helping others.
A benefit for Laura will take place this Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Monticello American Legion. The event begins with a bake sale at 3 p.m. followed by dinner at 4 p.m.
There will be a silent auction from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a beanbag toss tournament beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $9 at the door and there is a $25 entry fee per team of two people to participate in the beanbag toss tournament.
All proceeds will go to helping Laura and her son during this difficult time.
After graduating from high school, Peterson entered Augsburg College as a perfectly healthy college freshman, but soon the 18 year old mysteriously began having seizures.
Peterson took a break from college to get her health under control after being diagnosed with epilepsy, and life got busy with managing her condition, working and the birth of her son Aidan.
It wasn’t until Peterson was diagnosed with the auto-immune disorder lupus in 2011 and then cervical cancer a year later, at age 28, that she decided to make her longtime dream of teaching a reality, and she re-entered college at St. Cloud State University last fall.
In the time since she was last in school, Peterson has turned her experience with epilepsy into a force for good. She formed and leads an epilepsy support group once a month at the St. Cloud library, and she also works as a volunteer educator for the Epilepsy Foundation.
Peterson speaks to classrooms about the disease when the classroom includes an epileptic student, and she helps to educate the broader community.
See this week’s print edition of the Monticello Times for the complete story.