Brittney Prehn, 22, as she appears in a photo posted to an online fundraising page. The woman who was struck by lightning continues to show some progress following the incident at Country Thunder.

Prehn, 22, still faces long recovery

By Jason Arndt

Despite experiencing some soreness, Brittney Prehn walked diligently through a crowd supporters Sept. 15 in Illinois, where her friends and family hosted a benefit at Woodstock’s Nikos Red Mill Tavern.

Considering where she was in July, when she was struck by lightning at Country Thunder near Twin Lakes, the diligent walk was nothing short of a miracle.

By Brittney Prehn’s admission, she does not remember the incident, but recalled hearing stories from those close to her.

“I don’t remember exactly getting struck, but I heard a lot of the stories about the people who found me and the paramedics,” said Brittney, 22.

“They all say it is a miracle – they don’t understand how I am alive, and it is a blessing.”

Her mother, Lisa Anderson Prehn, agreed with Brittney.

“The doctors told me she is a walking miracle,” said Lisa, who has watched her recovery since the July 20 lightning strike.

“She is a fighter.”

Fight for recovery
Brittney Prehn, on July 20, was walking alone on the Miller campground where she was struck by a bolt of lightning while talking on her cell phone.

Authorities said the lightning strike traveled through her body and exited through her right foot.

Emergency responders found Prehn unconscious and her shattered cell phone nearby.

She was transported to Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry and later taken to Loyola University Medical Center near Chicago.

Prehn, who was released within two weeks of her admission, said it has been a challenging recovery.

“I have good and bad days,” she said. “I have numbness in my arms. Yesterday I got stung by a bee and couldn’t even feel it.”

Prehn, who lost some of her hearing as a result, attends therapy four times a week.

“I do speech, occupational and physical therapy, and then I have more surgeries coming up,” said Prehn, who will find out about her surgical plans on Oct. 9.

Finding inspiration
She has drawn inspiration from her three younger sisters, hoping to serve as an example of overcoming adversity, regardless of the circumstances.

“The thing that keeps me going is my sisters, I want my sisters to see that no matter what life throws at them that they can do it,” she said. “I push every day.”

One of her sisters offered a helping hand by contributing proceeds from a steer she sold at the McHenry County Fair.

The steer raised by Brooke, 19, brought in more than $6,300.

“That was amazing and the support that people gave me (at the McHenry County Fair) was amazing,” Prehn said. “(Brooke) lives in Texas now, she is going to school to become a doctor.”

Brittney, previously involved in a 4-H club, continued to show her love for the outdoors and helped her younger sisters in their projects.

Prehn, meanwhile, said she still faces a long road to recovery that includes more surgeries and physical therapy.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to cover future medical expenses.

As of Monday, about 320 people have contributed a collective $17,430.

As she works on her recovery, Brittney has maintained her goal of becoming a special education teacher, and wants to return to the classroom at the College of Dupage.


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