+

Maddy Wilford was shot three times during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th.

When rescuers found Wilford, they thought that she was among the 17 victims who had already died. But she survived — and today, she was able to finally leave the hospital.

Surrounded by her parents, surgeons, and the paramedic who saved her, Wilford took the opportunity to raise her voice.


"I'm Madeline Wilford," she began. "I would just like to say that I'm so grateful to be here."

Joe Raedle​/Getty Images.

Wilford thanked her physicians as well as classmates and strangers for the overwhelming love she's received.

Doctors said that if rescuers had stuck with their initial plan to drive Wilford to a hospital 30 miles away, she likely would not have survived. Instead, a fire-rescuer made a split-second decision to take her to a much closer facility 10 miles away. "She's very lucky, very, very lucky," said Broward Health North medical director Igor Nichiporenko.

It's a strong reminder that the tragedy reached beyond victims and their families and impacted the rescuers, doctors, specialists, and volunteers who labored tirelessly to save as many students as possible from the attack.

"It wouldn’t be possible without those officers and first responders and these amazing doctors," Wilford said. "And just all the love that’s been passed around. I definitely wouldn’t be here without it,” she said.

Her family said they're hopeful the tragedy can become a larger opportunity for building community.

Despite the pain and fear their family has experienced in the wake of the Parkland tragedy, Wilford's parents said the outreach of support has also given them a reason to be hopeful moving forward.

"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,” said Wilford's mother, Missy. "We have had an outpouring from people that we don’t know, people that now I consider to be our friends."

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas community has already shown that they're determined to become a powerful united force for change.

And as many of her classmates have made headlines speaking out in favor of gun control, Wilford has been watching and supporting from her hospital bed.

It started with frustrated survivors speaking out on cable news and holding demonstrations. Then, Wilford herself was visited in hospital by President Donald Trump, who later surprised some by expressing a willingness to support gun control measures, and infuriated many others by using a photo of the visit to raise campaign money.

All told, Wilford's classmates have presented a united front in starting a movement for gun control, perhaps most visibly in the form of a televised town hall where students and the families of victims confronted politicians and a NRA spokeswoman over their failure to take meaningful action.

"Like my mom says, it’s times like these when we all need to stay together,” she said. "I've seen a lot of positive posts about what's going on at school. I just love the fact that we’re sticking together after this."

As Wilford heads home to rejoin her school community, millions of others across the country are rallying to do the same.

Wilford will be re-entering a community that's been forever changed by tragedy — but has also been propelled into action that has quickly scaled to a national level. What began as an increasingly common attack has now become a country-wide movement, one that will draw hundreds of thousands of people to Washington to march in support of gun control measures later this month.

It's an incredibly powerful thing to watch student survivors like Wilford display strength for their cause on a public stage. And as they continue to rally for a safer nation, millions of their fellow citizens are joining them in sending a clear message: never again.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

A man told me gun laws would create more 'soft targets.' He summed up the whole problem.

As far as I know, there are only two places in the world where people living their lives are referred to as 'soft targets.'

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

Only in America are kids in classrooms referred to as "soft targets."

On the Fourth of July, a gunman opened fire at a parade in quaint Highland Park, Illinois, killing at least six people, injuring dozens and traumatizing (once again) an entire nation.

My family member who was at the parade was able to flee to safety, but the trauma of what she experienced will linger. For the toddler with the blood-soaked sock, carried to safety by a stranger after being pulled from under his father's bullet-torn body, life will never be the same.

There's a phrase I keep seeing in debates over gun violence, one that I can't seem to shake from my mind. After the Uvalde school shooting, I shared my thoughts on why arming teachers is a bad idea, and a gentleman responded with this brief comment:

"Way to create more soft targets."

Keep ReadingShow less

Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

Keep ReadingShow less