Best of SNO High School Edition

Senior Stephanie Ingberg attends Prom after E. coli battle

Courtesy of Lauren Lashly

Courtesy of Lauren Lashly

Posing with a port on her arm, senior Stephanie Ingberg with senior Lauren Lashly have fun taking Prom pictures. Despite Ingberg’s ongoing health obstacles following her illness, Lashly and her friends wanted to make Prom night special. “I knew that Prom was really important to Stephanie. It helped motivate her and gave positivity during her recovery process,” Lashly said.

Susie Seidel, Parkway West High School

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Senior Stephanie Ingberg has recently been named by doctors to have endured the United States’ worst case of E. coli but returned to high school for her senior Prom.

Ingberg contracted the E. coli virus from a salad in March before departing to Punta Cana for spring break. After being infused with antibiotics that only made the virus worse, causing multi-organ failure, Ingberg was flown back to St. Louis to undergo kidney treatment. She is now recovering at home.

“Recovery has been hard emotionally and physically. Going from being the varsity field hockey captain and going to the gym twice a week to not even being able to go to the bathroom without help from my nurses is definitely difficult emotionally,” Ingberg said. “I have been working hard and pushing myself in physical therapy so I can be more independent.”

Ingberg continued progress in physical therapy with hopes to attend the final events of her senior year, having already missed spring break.

“Prom was very important to me because it was my motivation,” Ingberg said. “When I was feeling tired and sick and didn’t want to walk or work with my physical therapist, I thought about Prom and wanting to walk across the stage at graduation and it motivated me to work harder and get out of my hospital bed.”

Ingberg attended Prom with her friends April 28, who were happy to have her alongside them.

“Prom was really special because for some time we weren’t even sure she was going to be able to go. We really missed having her on spring break, so everyone was excited to have her back” senior Rachel Wang said.

Senior Lauren Lashly said Prom would not have been the same for their friends if Ingberg would not have been able to join them.

“When Stephanie was in the hospital my friends and I were not sure if she was going to be able to go, and we didn’t even know if we wanted to go if she wasn’t going to be there,” Lashly said. “Stephanie is always the life of the party, so Prom would’ve been noticeably different without her.”

“We made sure there was always someone with her if she ever got tired. It was fun to dance with her, and even though she was sick she was still the same Stephanie and still has the same personality and was the life of the party,” senior Samantha Walkoff said.

Ingberg graduated early on account of her illness and plans to study nursing at Mizzou next fall.

“I was passionate about nursing and medicine before, but after getting sick and spending three weeks in the hospital it only made my interest grow,” Ingberg said. “The nurses at St. Luke’s were so amazing and they made me know the kind of nurse I want to be.”

Ingberg continues to seek medical treatment and to make strides towards an expected full recovery.

“I have at least an appointment every day, but often times more. I go to dialysis, physical therapy, follow up doctors appointments, going to get blood work done, the list goes on and on. I’ve really been using this time to heal so I can try to get back to my normal life,” Ingberg said. “They don’t know long term what this has done to my body and if my kidneys will ever function at 100 percent, but the doctors say only time will tell. I’m so blessed and happy to be here and be with my family and friends.”

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