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'I'm here for a reason': Lightning survivor Brittney Prehn returns to Country Thunder

Posted: 5:22 PM, Jul 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-18 19:23:53-04
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TWIN LAKES — Country Thunder kicked off Thursday in Kenosha County, and for one fest-goer it marked a return to the place that changed her life forever.

These days Brittney Prehn doesn’t take anything for granted.

“The hard part is the hearing, is how simple it was just to listen to something,” Prehn said.

It was just last summer that the 23-year-old nearly died when she was struck by lightning at Country Thunder.

“My spinal damage was so severe that it was beyond medical repair itself,” Prehn said.

The bolt hit her head, traveled through her body and went out her foot, leaving her with ongoing medical issues.

Her walking continues to improve and she has fewer panic attacks, but she can only hear with the help of devices, and suffers from long- and short-term memory loss. Her senses are also heightened after losing much of her feeling to nerve damage.

“If I hit my leg or break a bone or cut my leg open, I could bleed out to death and I won’t even know,” Prehn said.

A year later, Prehn has learned to own her imperfections.

“Now I kind of embrace it. I mean, that’s kind of what you have to do to move on,” Prehn said.

All she wants is to live her life as normally as possible, so she’s facing her fears and coming back to the music festival.

“My brain is set. This is what I do every year. I’m looking forward to this. This is what I’m doing,” Prehn said.

“I’m convinced I’m here for a reason. I’m going to find out what that purpose is for and live up to it.” — lightning survivor Brittney Prehn

She knows life can go away in an instant.

“I’m convinced I’m here for a reason. I’m going to find out what that purpose is for and live up to it,” Prehn said.

Prehn is prepared for any PTSD and the hot weather expected this weekend. Festival officials have also provided her with accommodations so she can sit during the shows.