Walker Bethune remains in critical condition following the incident on Marco Island

By Rachel DeSantis
July 21, 2021 01:15 PM
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Walker Bethune
Walker Bethune
| Credit: gofundme

A Georgia teenager is on the road to recovery after he was struck by lightning while on a family vacation in Florida.

Walker Bethune, a rising senior at Stratford Academy in Macon, was involved in the "horrific accident" on Saturday afternoon, the school wrote in a Facebook post.

Walker was enjoying a beach day on Marco Island when he was struck by lightning just 3 feet away from the rest of his family, they wrote in an entry on a CaringBridge page.

The teen's father David performed CPR until EMS arrived, and Walker was hospitalized in Naples before being airlifted to a trauma center in Miami, according to the family.

"In the midst of this unimaginable event, we are overwhelmed with your love and your prayers for our dear Walker," the family wrote. "His remarkable life is a direct reflection of all of you who love him!"

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They added that Walker was critically stable, and his parents were "celebrating each small, baby step victory as they come."

A subsequent update on Tuesday said that Walker was experiencing "great brain health, great nervous system responses and great heart health."

"These are the [most] important testing activities today. He is still in critical condition, but the medical team feels confident he is stable enough to have the MRI today," the post read. "Our son's brain has been blessed by God. The MRI will give us a better image of its current health."

At a weekend vigil organized by Stratford, Head of School Logan Bowlds called Walker an "absolutely phenomenal young man."

"He's a go-getter, he's compassionate, he's hard-working, and, in fact, the reason our pavement is so sparkling today is that he was just out here last week pressure washing it," Bowlds said, according to Fox/ABC affiliate WGXA.

Bowlds added that the family specifically asked for prayers for Walker's heart and kidneys, the Miami Herald reported.