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Benefit coming up for ailing student

Phillip Thorn

On Jan. 16, Meyer Middle School seventh grader Phillip Thorn stopped breathing and went into pulmonary cardiac arrest.

After getting his heart started at River Falls Hospital, Thorn was transferred to St. Paul Children’s Hospital where he was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He has been there since.

Thorn was in a coma for the first couple of days with an EEG machine to measure his brainwaves and a ventilator to help him breath. He was also given hypothermic therapy to slow down his body and organs, and to help heal his brain.

After a few days Thorn started to wake and was taken off the ventilator tube and given a tracheostomy to help him breathe more on his own and clear his lungs.

Thorn, the son of Tracie and William Buelow, has an anoxic brain injury – which is an injury to the brain from lack of oxygen.

His aunt, Jessica Thorn, says the family is “unsure of the final results of it (the brain injury), but we are remaining optimistic and hopeful and he is giving us signs every day.”

A benefit will be held for Thorn from 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at American Legion Hall, 701 N. Main St.

The benefit will be a Star Wars and nerd-themed event, so light sabers and suspenders are welcome. 

There will be a silent auction with many different items donated from local and non-local businesses. There will be a bake sale, face painting, and activity table for kids.

Donation jars will be set up around the tables and at local businesses leading up to the event.

No entry fee will be required but there is a $5 free-will donation at the door. Anyone wanting to donate to the benefit should email Jessica Thorn at

A tax-free donations account has been set up at Royal Credit Union for monetary donations.

Make checks payable to Fundraiser for Phillip O Thorn. Cash can also be donated to the account. They can be dropped off at the bank or sent to: Royal Credit Union/ PO BOX 339/River Falls, WI 54022-9802.

For the full story, please see the Jan. 30 print edition of the River Falls Journal.