‘Barils don’t give up’

News | August 24, 2017

He remembers almost everything about the crash. On May 15, Peter Baril and a friend headed south on Harrison Street in Davenport on his motorcycle. Just a few blocks north of church, a car pulled out in front of them.

“I remember making choices on where to put the bike,” Peter said. “I can remember hearing the crunch of the car. I can remember exactly what it sounded like.”

Then he can remember looking down and knowing that his life was going to change. Excruciating pain and a helicopter ride to Iowa City followed. The morphine wasn’t working. His family came to be by his side. Doctors amputated his right leg below the knee.

“I would do anything to take this all away,” mom Joan told her son. Peter looked at her. “Mom, I would do anything to take MS away from you.”

‘I’m fine’

Steve and Joan Baril brought Peter home from Russia when hewas a baby. The story goes that he had a feisty spirit in him from theday he was born. A cleft palate meant that he had to fight to survive.

After he came home to the United States, the road to Iowa City was a well-worn one for the Barils, for surgeries and appointments at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Peter had a lot of medical attention while growing up. The family thought the trips to Iowa City were done.

Not so. Peter is now receiving care again in Iowa City as he works toward acclimating to his new prosthetic leg. How’s he doing? He means it when he says, “I’m fine.”

“I lost my leg. I’ll get a new one. It’s a little bit of a slow down. I don’t have to sit around and be worried. I can adapt.”

Meanwhile, shortly before the motorcycle crash, mom Joan finally received a definitive diagnosis for the health problems she has persistently sought answers for three years – she has primary progressive multiple sclerosis, or MS. Common symptoms include problems with walking, weak or stiff legs, and trouble with balance. So while her son gets a new leg, Joan is embarking upon a brand new treatment for her specific type of MS. It’s called Ocrevus, an IV medication. The belief is that it will stop or slow the progression of the disease.

“What have I learned in the process?” she wrote on Facebook when sharing that she was approved for the treatment. “Don’t give up. Particularly if your condition is progressive. No matter how polite and respectful you are, your tenacity will not always be appreciated. Second, find an advocate. In my case, this was Tonya Norgard, nurse extraordinaire. This (treatment) could be a game changer for me. I am grateful.”

Pushing forward is a common trait in the Baril family. Five years ago, before her health symptoms began to flair, Joan finished very last in the Quad City Triathlon. “But I finished. Barils do not give up.”

The Cheetah
Matt Husnik is with American Prosthetics & Orthotics in Iowa City. He is working with Peter on his new leg.

“When we get the opportunity to work with someone like Peter, it’s exciting for us because we know how much potential there is,” he said. “I don’t think a prosthesis is going to limit someone like Peter. Ninety-nine percent of that has to do with Peter being Peter.”

Prosthetic technology has significantly improved outcomes in the past 20 years, Matt said. One particularly exciting development is what is known as The Cheetah, a prosthetic that is very effective for very active people. Peter may be a candidate for that type of device, Matt said. “We have people doing Zumba class and 10 mile hikes, farmers out in the field all day, construction workers, people going for a swim,” he said. “That’s the best part of my job. We’ll follow Peter for a long time, get to know him and his family well. He’s given me a list of his demands. It offers me a challenge.”

What are some of those demands? Peter wants to ski, go fishing and floating on the river, and have a career, perhaps as an electrician.

“My goal is to make him a prosthesis that will allow him to do what he wants to do,” Matt said.

Three things
Three things can make Peter Baril cry. One he won’t talk about. The other two are his grandma and his mom. The support that his family, which includes dad Steve and sister Mary, has received since the crash has been pretty overwhelming, too. The advancements that will positively impact their lives are not lost on the family.

“It’s amazing what science is doing for both of us,” Joan said. “There’s a lot of hope surrounding MS.”

And as for Peter? “He’s inspiring people, including me,” Joan said.

2 Comments on “‘Barils don’t give up’”

  • Carol Seitz

    August 25, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Read your story with tears in my eyes. Not tears of sorrow but of joy. God has blessed you with such wonderful spirits – Spirits of faith, of courage, of love. Barils don’t have to give up – victory is theirs and they are sweeping all of us along with them. I thank God for knowing them and knowing their story.

  • Georgeann Kreiter

    August 24, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    So good to read this. An amazing story for both of you. Awfully proud of you and hoping our son and daughter in law will see this.

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,





He then says,



18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”