Memorial bench installed to honor Filipina girl killed by lightening

By Connie Macatula-De Leon, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Feb. 13, 2014

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. – Jennie Dizon, 17, was writing in her journal while sitting a park when she was struck by lightning and killed.

It happened at O’Brian Park in Downers Grove, Ill. on May 30 last year.

At around 5:20 p.m. she was found unconscious and was pronounced dead at the scene.

For the first time, the Dizon family visited the newly installed memorial bench at the park to remember Jennie.

“She is the light of our life,” Marietta Dizon, Jennie’s mom, said. “She brought so much joy to my family because she was the most boisterous of our three kids. She always laughs and told stories. So those are the things that I really cherish the most and miss.”

An estimated 24,000 people are killed by lightning around the world every year, and 240,000 are injured, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Losing a daughter in an unexpected way has been very tough for the Dizon’s, but they say this experience only strengthened their faith as they now look at life in different light.

“This is the moment,” Dizon said. “Even though you’re busy, make quality time with your kids. Have strong faith in our Lord because that’s what’s most important, no matter what challenges you’re facing.”

Friends say, they will never forget Jennie who died three days before her high school graduation.

“She was really into music, especially All Time Low and High School Musical,” Jennie’s best friend Audrey Donaldson said. “She had interesting taste.”

“She’d always come up to me and she’d hug me,” Ian Amiscaray, another of Jennie’s best friends, said. “She has this huge smile on her face, and it was always contagious, and we’d always laugh together.”

The Dizons say they remain positive as they move on during these difficult times.

“She took life to a whole new level and made everything super crazy or super weird,” Jennie’s sister Emmeline said. “She’s very spontaneous.”

“We struggle,” Marietta Dizon said. “It’s hard, but the wound will heal in time. We’ll take one day at a time. Even though she’s gone, she’s always with us in spirit and memory. So that’s how I keep moving on.”

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