A new life for Lauren
Val Vita | Managing Editor
An accident almost killed Lauren Renfrow seven months ago. Almost.
This month, Renfrow, celebrated her 23rd birthday with friends and family at a hospital in Omaha, Neb. The most important celebration that day was that Renfrow is learning how to walk again.
Renfrow, a marketing major at PSU, was visiting a friend in Spain on Jan. 7 when she fell from the fourth floor of a building. To this day, no one is quite sure what happened. She suffered a brain injury and was kept in an induced coma for seven weeks at a hospital in Spain until she returned to the United States for treatment.
Melissa Archuleta was Renfrow’s roommate. She says Renfrow is currently in a clinic in Omaha undergoing physical and speech therapy.
“She’s doing great there,” said Archuleta, who graduated last spring with a degree in management. “She’s speaking a lot now. And she laughs. She’s still the same person inside.”
“The look on her face was priceless when she saw us saying Happy Birthday,” Archuleta said. “She gave us hugs and said hello to everybody.”
Rhonda Renfrow, Lauren’s mom, decorated the room in crimson and gold, the Pitt State colors, for her birthday.
“She still remembers a lot about Pitt State,” Archuleta said. “She remembers a lot of people. But some things are still missing.”
Archuleta says she and Renfrow stay in contact frequently, mainly through texting since Renfrow is getting back into technology.
“She was in the graphic arts program at PSU, so it has been very impressive to everybody that she is regaining all the stuff she liked to do,” Archuleta said. “She is still very creative. There was an event at the facility and she created a poster for it. I’m surprised at some of the things she has been doing.”
Rhonda says Renfrow is at the clinic to relearn basic things, but they are bringing her things she liked to do before the accident.
“And this is helping her to get better,” said Rhonda. “They got her on the computer and she even has a Facebook account now. She is designing the fliers for the bands that are coming to the hospital. They get a lot of what drove her before to keep her interested in the therapy.”
Rhonda, who goes to Nebraska to visit her daughter every weekend, says that Renfrow is taking a huge step.
“She is doing really well physically, she is walking with a walker now,” she said.
According to Archuleta, the doctors stipulated that Renfrow should be walking any time from November to January. Once she does, she will able to come back home.
“Brain injuries take time to recover,” Archuleta said. “It hasn’t been a year yet. It would be a great accomplishment if she walks before then.”
Rhonda says Renfrow is making progress, and when she can come home depends on this progress.
“Hopefully she will get home, and we will continue her therapies there,” she said.