Former Madonna patient gives back after recovery

LINCOLN, Neb. Last July Hallie Zitek was in a horrific car accident on her way home from work.

Now after a long stint at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, she’s giving back and moving forward.

“I wanna give back to Madonna because I love helping people who were impacted like I was,” said Zitek.

Less than a year ago Zitek was a patient in a room just feet away from where she volunteers.

"I was actually turning left to go home from work that day,” said Zitek. “While I was turning a car hit me in my blind spot and pushed me into a semi."

The accident left her with a traumatic brain injury, a broken pelvis, a rod in her leg and at one point in time she was on a ventilator.

Courtney Prochaska was part of the David City Volunteer Fire Department and one of the first responders at Hallie’s accident.

"We showed up to the scene and you just see this car that was sitting in the middle of this T intersection for two highways,” said Prochaska. “The thing that’s always going to stick with me is seeing her pom-poms sitting by the semi’s tire."

Since Hallie’s accident Courtney went back to her nursing roots and got her dream job at Madonna. She says seeing Hallie volunteer where she once was a patient means the world to her.

“Seeing her now is absolutely amazing, Her smile is gorgeous, her eyes light up a room, she’s over there now playing with some patients,” said Prochaska. “She’s just got this amazing life spirit and the day I responded to her call I went home and prayed because I didn't know how it was going to turn out."

Hallie just finished up her first semester at the University of Nebraska with a perfect 4.0 GPA with dreams of being a physician’s assistant.

Courtney says she is going back to school to become a life-flight nurse to help more kids like Hallie.