Maddy Wilford, a junior at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, says she’s grateful to be among the survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting spree that claimed the lives of 17 people.
Wilford, who sustained multiple gunshot wounds in the attack and underwent multiple surgeries to save her life, spoke about her recovery at a hospital news conference Monday morning.
“I’m so grateful to be here and it wouldn’t be possible without the officers and first responders and these amazing doctors, especially all the love everyone has sent,” the 17-year-old said.
She said she was reflecting on all the letters and gifts everyone has given and love passed around.
“I definitely wouldn’t be here without it,” Wilford added.
Wilford said she just wanted to extend her appreciation and love to everyone and is glad she is making a full recovery.
Her progress, according the doctors, is remarkable, and they expect her to make a full recovery and go back to school next week. She sustained some ligament damage to her right hand — the one she uses for writing and shooting basketballs as a member of the girl’s basketball team.
She will undergo rehabilitation on her hand in the coming weeks but is expected to be able to eventually regain full motion.
Maddy’s mother, Missy Wilford, thanked the hospital staff and the first responders, and then she looked in the eyes of her daughter.
“I could probably spend an hour talking about my daughter… she’s a fighter,” Missy Wilford said. She then had a message for other students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
“As a mom, I just have to say to you, do not be afraid if you need help,” she said.
Meanwhile, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel continues to face criticism for his department’s actions before and after the deadly school shooting.
“Sheriff Israel failed to maintain a culture of alertness, vigilance and thoroughness amongst his deputies,” Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran wrote in a letter Sunday. “As a result of Sheriff Israel’s failures, students and teachers died.”
On Monday, thousands of Floridians converged on Tallahassee to demand more gun control.
It is the second time in recent days that protesters have visited the capital.
The “Rally in Tally” was led by former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who is vying for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was expected to draw 1,000 people from across the state, according to a news release.
Last Friday, teachers and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School made their way back to campus.
The school district’s news release said there will be a voluntary campus orientation for all students on Sunday where a “variety of support services” will be available.
Students are expected to return for classes on Wednesday.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas staff will return Monday and Tuesday for planning days.
School officials say the freshman building, where the shooting took place, is still a closed crime scene so those teachers will be relocated.