By EDWARD HUSARHerald-Whig Staff Writer
Friends and classmates of a 19-year-old Quincy University student who was seriously injured when struck by a car Jan. 7 are planning a fundraising run/walk event April 21 to help her family pay bills.
Meanwhile, Shannon Peters is still struggling to recover at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where she has made some progress from her previous unresponsive state.
"She continues to keep her eyes open, and her health is still stable, but (she) does not understand anything," Shannon's mother, Mary Peters, said in an email interview Monday.
"She can not communicate in any way. She still has a tracheostomy tube, which we are hopeful will be removed this week."
Peters, a freshman from Elk Grove Village, was struck by a car while crossing Chestnut Street about 350 feet east of 18th Street. The accident happened on her first day back from winter break.
A "Caring Bridge" online journal maintained by her family for the past three months says: "The impact caused Shannon to obtain a severe head injury which has put her into an extremely critical condition. She has been unresponsive since the event and her injury is so bad that we were informed that an injury like this is not recoverable in any way, but she is young and strong and has a strong faith which will prove them wrong."
The Quincy University Panhellenic Council, which oversees campus Greek life, is organizing the April 21 "Strides for Shannon" 5-kilometer run and 1-mile walk to raise money to help the Peters family with bills piling up since the accident.
The Quincy community is invited to participate. The 5K race begins at noon, and the 1-mile walk starts at 12:15 p.m. Participants will receive a light snack, beverages and an entry into a post-race raffle.
The early registration fee is $25 for students and $30 for the public. People who register before Monday, April 15, are guaranteed a free T-shirt. On the day of the race, the fee for all participants is $35.
Registration on race day will begin at 11 a.m. in the B parking lot at 18th and Oak, in front of QU's Health and Fitness Center.
A letter distributed by the Ladies of Quincy University Greek Life is seeking support from prospective donors and business sponsors for the event. The group is seeking coupons, gift certificates, pens, pencils, water, granola bars, fruit and other things that can be used in connection with Strides for Shannon.
"Every little thing is a great help during this time," the letter says.
The accident prompted the city of Quincy and Quincy University to make some safety-related improvements along streets near the campus.
Several weeks ago, the city installed four solar-powered pedestrian warning signs. Two were placed on Chestnut between 18th and 20th, and the two others were placed along 18th between Lind and Elm. Originally, only the Chestnut signs were to be installed, but a traffic study conducted by the city showed a large number of people also were crossing 18th to get to a parking lot on the west side of the street.
"It made sense to put some signs there, too," City Engineer Jeff Steinkamp said.
QU paid for all four signs, which cost about $1,700 each. The city maintains the signs.
In addition, the city increased the wattage on five street lights in the area.
"We just wanted to increase the lighting to make it more visible," Steinkamp said.
The city also plans to add crosswalk markings at 20th and Chestnut, and the university is planning to conduct a campus pedestrian safety campaign.