WACONIA, Minn. - A Minnesota couple has been devoted to the Celtic band Gaelic Storm for years, but this weekend will attend the band’s Minneapolis concert with renewed hope, thanks to a song that’s become anthem after a life threatening accident.
Mike and Mary Berger, of Waconia, not only will attend the concert to celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary, they will also celebrate the progress Mary has made since a 2011 motorcycle accident left her with a traumatic brain injury.
Gaelic Storm’s song “Cyclone McClusky” inspired Mary to wake up each day and fight to overcome injuries that damaged her sight, attention, focus and multitasking abilities.
“I was traveling down the road at 55 miles an hour, and a 19 year old girl turned right from a stop sign and pulled out right in front of me,” said Mary Berger. “I suffered two skull fractures, a moderate traumatic brain injury, a bruised lung, torn ligament in my left thumb, and damage to my right elbow.”
The song, Cyclone McClusky, tells the story about a motorcycle rider who decides to ride the wall of death, an old stunt.
“For her, it’s become almost a cliché to call it a fight song but it has become that for her. It’s a message of hope that kind of tells you even when you fall, you can still always fly, you just have to get back up and try,” said Mike Berger.
Mary Berger points to the words in the chorus, which she has framed her near bedside to inspire her to wake up and face each day.
“If the cyclone can do it, then maybe so can I,” Mary Berger recalls. “It just reminds me, just keep going, we all fall down in life, and it’s not how long you are down but how quickly you get back up and keep going.”
She underwent two and a half years of intensive cognitive rehabilitation therapy at the Hennepin County Medical Center traumatic brain injury unit, and today, is back to even riding her motorcycle again.
The Bergers hope the song can inspire others facing the scars of traumatic brain injuries or other life challenges.
“The message of hope that other people can find, to realize you don’t always have to fall. You can still fly,” said Mike Berger.
The couple has one more reason to celebrate at the Gaelic Storm concert. Nineteen years ago, they met on a long distance Valentine’s Day blind date, with Mary flying from Minnesota to Ohio to meet Mike.
Now with the help of their favorite band on Valentine’s Day weekend two decades later, they still defy the odds.
“Your reality can change in a blink of an eye. The real test of love is being able to step up to the plate and help somebody get through something like this,” said Mike Berger.