Maddy Wilford was fighting for her life after being shot multiple times during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.
Nearly two weeks later and after numerous surgeries, the 17-year-old junior broke down in tears and spoke about the incident for the first time at Broward Health North Medical Center in Pompano Beach where she was treated and was hospitalized in critical condition.
“I’m so grateful to be here,” Maddy, who wore a Douglas High sweatshirt, told reporters on Monday in her emotional address.
“It wouldn’t be possible without the officers, first responders and amazing doctors,” said the teenager, who continues to heal from the bullet that pierced her chest, another through her torso and the third that traveled through her right arm.
“All the love that’s been passed around, I definitely wouldn’t be here without it,” Maddy said while sitting between her parents David and Missy Wilford. “I’m just glad that I’m making a full recovery and everything’s been going so smoothly,” she shared while smiling and wiping tears from her eyes.
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“I’m very grateful to be sitting here next to my daughter, alive and well today,” her father David said on Monday.
Maddy sustained ligament damage to her right hand, the one she uses to write and shoot basketballs as a member of the girls’ basketball team, according to her doctors who spoke with The Sun-Sentinel. The shooting survivor will start rehabilitation and is expected to eventually regain full motion in her hand.
Mother Missy previously wrote on Facebook that “the surgeons didn’t know how many” times Maddy was shot “but she is alive which is a miracle,” also noting that her daughter lost a significant amount of blood and underwent surgeries to “put in permanent titanium plates to hold the ribs together.”
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Before she was discharged on Wednesday, she spent seven days in the hospital during which she met President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.
The suspected shooter, a former Douglas High student, walked through a school building firing an AR-15 assault rifle and killed 17 people, including a beloved football coach and geography teacher.
The gunman remains in custody and is being held without bond. He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and has not yet entered a plea. At least 15 other people sustained injuries in the Valentine’s Day attack.
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A GoFundMe campaign has been established for Maddy. A GoFundMe account has also been set up to help families of victims of the attack.
On Sunday, thousands of students, parents and faculty returned to campus for the first time since the Feb. 14 school shooting. School officials invited students and parents to return for an optional back-to-school orientation to prepare for the reopening of classes on Wednesday, NBC Miami reported. Staff members returned to school on Monday.