Brittnee Johns was to walk across the stage to get her diploma today. Instead, her friends and family are hosting a fundraiser to help cover her funeral expenses.
Brittnee, 17, was found dead in her home Thursday morning, two days before she was to graduate with her Medina High School classmates.
According to a Medina police report, Brittnee’s mother found her unresponsive around 5 a.m. in her bedroom at the family’s Canterbury Lane townhouse.
The police report said Brittnee’s mother noticed her daughter’s bedroom light on and door open around 5 a.m. and thought it was unusual. When she went into the room, she saw Brittnee face-down on her bed and unresponsive. She attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation and called police. Police also used an automatic external defibrillator in an attempt to revive Brittnee.
Police listed the case as a possible drug overdose, but no drugs or paraphernalia were found in a search of Brittnee’s room and purse.
A spokesperson for the Medina County coroner said the death was accidental.
Brittnee’s death shocked family and friends.
“It’s very upsetting for everyone; we’re all just pulling together as best we can,” said Brittany Carrabine, a friend of the family who is helping to organize fundraisers and a memorial services.
“You only needed to meet her once or twice to love her,” Carrabine said.
Michelle Boden remembered her friend as a fun-loving and outgoing girl who enjoyed the outdoors.
“She went off-roading and mudding and fishing,” Boden said. “She was always smiling.”
Carrabine and Boden both said Brittnee and her older sister, Ashleigh, were inseparable.
“She just loved her sister; they were so close,” Boden said.
A dinner fundraiser to help the family pay for funeral expenses will be 4 to 7 p.m. today at the Cleveland Metroparks’ Hinckley Reservation following graduation. The picnic dinner will be near the main entrance, near Hinckley Lake.
The suggested donation for the dinner is $10. Those who wish to stay for the dinner are asked to bring a side dish. Anyone who would like to make a donation to the family can call Penni Burwell Dunlap at (330) 724-7041.
Her friends said they expect the school to offer a memorial remembrance of Brittnee during graduation. The school also will have grief counselors available after the ceremony.
“The entire Medina High School family is saddened by the unexpected passing of one of our graduating seniors, Brittnee Johns,” said Bryan Farson, Medina High School principal. “In times of loss, we are reminded how precious life is.”
The school reported a fund has been set up in Brittnee’s name at FirstMerit Bank.
Calling hours for family and friends will be 2 to 8 p.m. Monday at Waite and Son Funeral Home in Medina.
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.