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Columbine’s ‘boy in the window’ reveals how he pieced his life back together

Columbine’s miracle ‘boy in the window’, who survived three gunshot wounds to drag himself more than 50ft to safety, has opened up about his ordeal ahead of the 20th anniversary of the massacre that shocked the world. 

The entire nation watched transfixed as 17-year-old Patrick Ireland desperately threw himself from a Columbine High School window into the arms of SWAT team officers Donn Kraemer and John Ramoniec.

Ireland was paralyzed down his right side, bleeding profusely and falling in and out of consciousness, but somehow found the will to not only survive but to piece his life back together after that dark day in April 1999. 

Survivor: Columbine’s miracle ‘boy in the window’ who survived three gunshot wounds to drag himself 50ft out of the building to safety has opened up about his ordeal, ahead of the 20th anniversary of a massacre that shocked the world

Chilling: The entire nation watched transfixed as 17-year-old Patrick Ireland desperately threw himself from a Columbine High School window into the waiting arms of SWAT team officers Donn Kraemer and John Ramoniec

Chilling: The entire nation watched transfixed as 17-year-old Patrick Ireland desperately threw himself from a Columbine High School window into the waiting arms of SWAT team officers Donn Kraemer and John Ramoniec

Brave: Ireland was paralyzed down his right side, bleeding profusely and falling in and out of consciousness, but somehow found the will to not only survive but to thrive after that dark day in April 1999

Brave: Ireland was paralyzed down his right side, bleeding profusely and falling in and out of consciousness, but somehow found the will to not only survive but to thrive after that dark day in April 1999

‘After I was shot, I blacked out and was unconscious through most of the mayhem. It was a blessing in disguise. It saved me from a lot of traumatic memories,’ the father-of-three told the Mirror. 

‘We were all shot fairly early on in the library,’ Ireland said. ‘We heard their shots and the throwing of pipe bombs as they got closer. It was harrowing.’ 

Ireland said  reaching the window was his only chance of survival and said he felt confident someone would be there waiting to catch him.  

Schoolboy: Ireland was in the library when the guns started going off. When he tried to help his wounded friend Makai Hall, he was blasted by Klebold from 15 feet away with a sawn-off double-barreled shotgun

Schoolboy: Ireland was in the library when the guns started going off. When he tried to help his wounded friend Makai Hall, he was blasted by Klebold from 15 feet away with a sawn-off double-barreled shotgun

On April 20, exactly 20 years ago later this month, Dylan Klebold, 17, and Eric Harris, 18, began a murderous rampage which left 12 students and one teacher dead.

Ireland was in the library with a friend when the guns started going off. When he tried to help his wounded classmate Makai Hall, he was blasted by Klebold from 15 feet away with a sawn-off double-barreled shotgun. 

Klebold continued his killing spree leaving Ireland for dead. 

But for more than three hours, against all odds, Ireland dragged his body towards the window – until he felt the cool air and somehow hoisted himself outside. 

Once emergency services had him he was rushed to St Anthony’s Central Hospital where doctors battled to save his life. 

One of the gunshots had penetrated the left hemisphere of his brain which caused right-sided paralysis and severe damage to his brain’s language center. 

Ireland also suffered a second head wound and a shattered right foot. 

But as doctors won the battle save his life, the long road to recovery really began.

Ireland also suffered a second head wound and a shattered right foot

Now a successful financial advisor with a young family, Ireland uses public speaking to pass on the message that hard work and perseverance can move mountains

Grueling physio: Ireland puts his peak athletic conditioning down as a reason he was able to recover so far and go on to be return for his senior year, go on to study finance at Colorado State University and meet the love of his life on his very first day of college

Friends would ask him about the ordeal but his sentences would not make sense when he replied. Over seven months he endured grueling therapy where he learned how to walk, talk, read and write again.

Evil will not win – there are too many good people in the world

Ireland attributes his athletic conditioning as a reason he was able to recover so fast and go on to be return for his senior year, then study finance at Colorado State University where he met the love of his life on his very first day of college. 

Now a successful financial advisor with a young family, Ireland uses public speaking to pass on the message that hard work and perseverance can move mountains.

‘Those of us who choose to be victors can achieve the goals we set out for ourselves,’ he said 

Lucky man: Today, the only visible markers from his ordeal is his limp which he has never recovered from. But with his wife Kacie, his two daughters Kennedy, nine and Kensington, four, plus their baby son Keene, Ireland has been able to piece his life back together

Today, the only visible markers from his ordeal is his limp which he has never recovered from. But with his wife Kacie, his two daughters Kennedy, nine and Kensington, four, plus their baby son Keene, Ireland has been able to piece his life back together.

But as the anniversary of the heinous shooting approaches, he remains angry that the attack on his school wasn’t the last of its kind on U.S. soil, and has called for a ban on semi-automatic weapons. 

Finishing on a defiant note, the survivor, said:  ‘I was so determined not to let my shooters win. I believe the world is still good at heart. People need to hold on to that.

‘Evil will not win. There are too many good people in the world.’

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk