The mother of a teenager who survived the Florida school shooting is speaking out, stating that "my heart is so full with gratitude."
As students return to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida for the first time since the Valentine's Day shooting that killed 17 students and teachers and injured more than a dozen, the mother of one survivor is giving thanks for the support she and her family has received.
"My heart is so full with gratitude for all those that have helped Madeline. I see this as 'yes, it is a tragedy,' but I would like to try to find a way to find the positive in what has happened here in our community," Missy Cantrell Wilford said.
Wilford's daughter, Maddy Wilford, a junior at the high school, was one of 14 students injured in the deadly rampage after she was struck by several bullets from an AR-15. Her mother called her survival a "miracle."
"Madeleine made it through her second surgery, she incurred multiple gunshot wounds with an AR-15 assault rifle. The surgeons didn't know how many exactly, but she is alive, which is a miracle. As the surgeons said, it only takes one. She had one that went through her back, crushing her ribs, piercing through her right lung and exiting through her stomach. Several went through the shoulder and traveled the length of her right arm before exiting. She lost so much blood, but she is stable and in ICU," Wilford wrote in a Facebook post just days after the shooting.
"Even after all of that, the bullets missed her liver, reproductive organs, heart, she could have been paralyzed. It is a miracle," Wilford concluded.
Students of the school returned to campus on Sunday to collect backpacks and other belongings that they were forced to leave behind during the deadly rampage. They were greeted by 17 people dressed as angels standing where a makeshift memorial now sits. The chain-link fence cordoning off the building where the shooting occurred — which will likely be demolished — was decorated with banners of support from schools around the country. While students, parents and teachers underwent an orientation on Sunday, classes are expected to resume Wednesday.