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Recovery steady but slow for injured Sandy mother of 4

Published: Tuesday, July 7 2015 10:36 p.m. MDT

Jennifer Strong, pictured here with her family, was critically injured last August after being hit by a car while retrieving a bicycle on I-80. Nine months later, family members say her recovery has been steady but slow. (Nathan Strong) Jennifer Strong, pictured here with her family, was critically injured last August after being hit by a car while retrieving a bicycle on I-80. Nine months later, family members say her recovery has been steady but slow. (Nathan Strong)

SANDY — Piano music filled the air of the South Towne Center Saturday during a fundraiser for a Sandy woman who was hit by a car almost 10 months ago.

Family and friends of Jennifer Strong came together to help raise funds for Strong's medical bills and continuing treatment. Dozens of students and instructors played during the eight-piano recital called A Colossal Event — Music Connecting People. Strong, who played violin and piano before the accident, expressed gratitude for the support she has received.

She also said she was thankful for the day, as she is for every day she is alive.

"I'm doing OK so far," she said.

Strong, 30, was hit by a car in August after walking onto the I-80 freeway to retrieve a bike that had fallen from the family car. She spent four months in a coma and remains at a care facility while she continues to recover.

Jennifer Strong was critically injured last August after being hit by a car while retrieving a bicycle on I-80. Nine months later, family members say her recovery has been steady but slow. (Nathan Strong) Jennifer Strong was critically injured last August after being hit by a car while retrieving a bicycle on I-80. Nine months later, family members say her recovery has been steady but slow. (Nathan Strong)

"It's been very difficult," husband Nathan Strong said. "Long nights, long days, but looking back, it's gone very quickly."

The mother of four will return home soon, but will be dependent on others, her father Don Liveley said. The family hopes she will eventually be able to walk again.

Her recovery has been steady but slow, Lively said, and her progress is measured in "inchstones" instead of milestones.

Strong continues to suffer from short-term memory loss and seizures but has recovered from four cracked vertebrae, a broken shoulder blade, broken pelvis, several fractures in both arms and her right leg.

"We didn't expect her to live. The doctor's didn't either," her step-mother Maria Lively said.

Jennifer Strong listens to music at a fundraiser in her honor Saturday at Sandy's South Towne Center. Strong was struck by a car on I-80 nine months ago while attempting to retrieve a bicycle that had fallen from her vehicle. Family members say her recovery has been steady but slow. (Jared Hargrave, Deseret News) Jennifer Strong listens to music at a fundraiser in her honor Saturday at Sandy's South Towne Center. Strong was struck by a car on I-80 nine months ago while attempting to retrieve a bicycle that had fallen from her vehicle. Family members say her recovery has been steady but slow. (Jared Hargrave, Deseret News)

Nathan Strong described his wife as the love of his life in a YouTube video he created in conjunction with the fundraiser. He visits his wife almost daily at the care center.

"We've got a long way," he said. "Her recovery has only just begun. She really only started waking up in December."

Saturday's support and other assistance the family receives has helped keep them going.

"People I've never met care about us, and that touches me very deeply," Nathan Strong said.

Contributing: Alex Cabrero

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com; benwood@deseretnews.com

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company