Hard-working RFC participant shares her inspiring story

In some ways, Lauryn Trede is a typical customer at the Racquetball and Fitness Center. She works out there several days a week, lives close by, and is well-known and liked by the RFC staff and fellow participants.

Beyond that, she is extraordinary. Hearing the story of her journey from a devastating auto-pedestrian accident to the cheerful, energetic and fit young woman she is today, is inspiring to say the least.

Fourteen months ago, Lauryn was struck by an SUV traveling 40 mph. Following the accident, she spent a month in intensive care, where the main focus of treatment was for traumatic brain injury and a fractured pelvis. She then spent an additional two months at Craig Hospital, where her recovery included re-learning everything, including how to walk, talk and eat. When she left the hospital to stay at her aunt’s house, she was in a wheelchair for six months, then she graduated to a walker, hiking poles, cane and finally walking free of support in March 2016. “I never got too proficient at navigating the wheelchair,” Lauryn said. “I wanted to be mobile, so I saw it as something temporary.”

Lauryn attributes her progress to “huge support from family and friends.” She also considers herself very fortunate to have regained virtually all of her cognitive function. “I am lucky to have my memories,” she said.

She’s also putting that gratitude to extra-good use by staying positive. “There is no other way to be,” she says firmly. “You can’t be negative.” As Lauryn talks about her recovery and the people that support her, it’s clear how much that means to her. “My father tells me that I’ll be an even better person than before,” she says with a smile.

Although Lauryn is still undergoing follow-up treatment, she is gaining strength and energy every day and appreciating the progress. “I don’t always notice because I am seeing myself from a daily perspective, but others point out to me how far I’ve come,” she says.

Holly Benson, a personal trainer at Apex PRD who works with Lauryn at the Racquetball and Fitness Center, can attest to that. As she simply and powerfully puts it: “There are no limits with Lauryn.”

Lauryn’s workouts currently focus on balance and strength, particularly Lauryn’s left side, which was most impacted by the traumatic brain injury. She connected with Holly, who has experience in rehabilitation, soon after she started working out at the Racquetball and Fitness Center. Lauryn’s aunt, with whom Lauryn stayed after leaving the hospital, had been a participant at the RFC and referred her to the facility.

Lauryn is no stranger to fitness. She previously enjoyed weightlifting and ran the Chicago Marathon four times. The skills, discipline and focus needed for those pursuits are supporting her now, according to her trainer. “It’s amazing what the body remembers,” Holly said.

Lauryn would like to run another marathon, but she’s not interested in pushing herself too hard. “It’s in the future, but I need to be realistic,” she says.

Meanwhile, she has a deep appreciation for the everyday things in life. “Just being able to take a shower, or jump in the car and drive myself to Target, or to work out; all those normal things are really big for me.”

The staff and customers at the RFC are lucky to have Lauryn in their lives. As she herself says, “I want to make a positive difference.” From our perspective, she already has.