Doctors did not expect Jovanna Calzadillas, lying in a coma and tied to a respirator, to survive being shot in the head at the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas. But nearly four months after the October shooting, she's going home for the first time.
Although doctors initially told Jovanna's husband Frank that she was unlikely to survive after a bullet went through her brain, Jovanna made what doctors are calling a "miraculous," "profound" and "amazing" recovery and is scheduled to leave the hospital Thursday.
In a soft, halting voice, Jovanna told reporters at the Barrow Neurological Institute on Wednesday that "a part of me changed that night. Even though I will not be the same old Jovanna, I will come back stronger. We will not let people like him win. We will not live in fear."
The 30-year-old mom of two said that she fought so hard to recover for two reasons: her children and herself.
"I will not quit on them and I will not quit on myself," she said. "I feel strong and positive, plus I get to boss my husband around."
Despite the pessimistic prognosis from the team at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Frank said he was hopeful Jovanna would survive because of a dream he had.
"She hugged me and kissed me and she said, 'Everything is going to be OK,' and she walked away," Frank, a police officer, said. "And I called her mom and said, 'We're keeping Jovanna alive. She's going to be alright.'"
She was transferred by air to Phoenix on Oct. 19 to be closer to home, where doctors are thrilled with her progress.
"Her progress from the day I first met her is nothing short of miraculous," Dr. Lindley Bliss said at the press conference.
Although she was in a wheelchair for Wednesday's press conference, Jovanna is learning how to walk again and making advancements in her speech, despite the language center of her brain being injured.
She will continue her recovery in out-patient therapy. A GoFundMe page set up to help the family with expenses has raised nearly $90,000.
The Arizona mom was shot in the head on Oct. 1 when Stephen Paddock opened fire from his 32nd floor Mandalay Bay hotel suite on the Route 91 Music Festival along the Vegas Strip, killing 58 and injuring hundreds of others.
By the time police gained access to his hotel room, Paddock had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the mouth.
Authorities have not released any information containing a motive in the months that have followed the deadliest shooting in modern American history.0comments
Earlier this month, authorities announced that Marilou Danley, Paddock's girlfriend, will not be charged in relation to the shooting. She was in the Philippines at the time of the mass shooting and investigators say she played no part in helping to carry out the attack.
However, local authorities said on Friday that the FBI is still investigating an unnamed person of interest. Earlier this month, Nicholas Crosby, the attorney for the Las Vegas police, said there are still "charges being investigated," depending on the findings of the investigation. Still on Friday, authorities insisted that Paddock is believed to be the only shooter.