‘I don’t wanna die’: Most critically-wounded Parkland survivor, 17, describes lasting trauma of getting shot four times a year after the school shooting
- Thursday marks one year since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
- Maddy Wilford, 17, was the most critically-wounded shooting survivor
- She suffered four bullets – three through her abdomen and one in her arm
- Wilford discussed the trauma in the aftermath of the shooting, saying she has to fight to stay motivate to attend school but wants to move forward.
- Her father, David Wilford, praised his daughter’s resilience
Maddy Wilford, 17, was hit in the abdomen and arm when a gunman opened fire in her high school in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2017.
She was the most critically-wounded survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 14 students and three staff members dead.
Now the resilient teen and former basketball player is speaking out about the trauma she deals with and is recalling the horrific day one year ago Thursday, saying she wants to move forward.
Speaking to CBS with her father David, Maddy says: ‘I can just remember sitting there, like, trying to get into position where I wasn’t going to get shot. I just could think… I hope this isn’t real. This whole fear, like set over me. And then, then I did get shot.’
Maddy Wilford, 17, was the most critically-wounded shooting survivor at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School i Parkland, Florida
Maddy suffered four bullets – three through her abdomen, which pierced her lung and one that shattered her right arm
Maddy said she recalls thinking, ‘Why me?’ Like, I don’t wanna die,’ as she sat on her classroom floor.
Video was taken showing a happy-go-lucky Maddy moments before the shooter opened fire last year
The teen said when the first responders first felt her pulse, she didn’t have one.
In all, three bullets ripped through Maddy’s abdomen, piercing her lung. Another shredded her right arm.
Maddy’s father David was in Nashville during the shooting and said he felt like he was ‘going out of my mind’, when he heard the news of Maddy’s injuries, calling it a miracle that she is alive.
‘I saw her face above the covers with a tube down her throat. And it was such a relief that I for a long time could not be angry. I was so thankful that she didn’t die. It was a pure miracle,’ David said.
But now Maddy says the trauma has taken a toll on her life, leaving her less motivated to go to school or be involved with activities.
‘I want to move forward, I want to do all these things, but it’s like my gears are stuck,’ she said. ‘Dealing with the fact that I basically died.’
But Maddy has not let go of her dreams to be a doctor or her love of basketball.
The 17-year-old now has an internship at the same trauma center she was treated at for her injuries and coaches basketball.
The father and daughter say their whole family is in therapy to deal with the aftermath of the shooting and have even gotten a service dog for comfort.
Wilford discussed the trauma in the aftermath of the shooting, saying she has to fight to stay motivate to attend school
Her father, David Wilford, praised his daughter’s resilience as she now interns at the same trauma center she was treated at and coaches basketball
Many Stoneman Douglas students arrived on campus Thursday wearing headphones and the burgundy #MSDStrong T-shirts that have become an emblem of the tragedy.
Outside the school, angel stakes for each of the 17 victims bordered the school’s landscaped sign. While absenteeism was expected to be high Thursday, many attended to show support and participate in activities.
President Donald Trump called the occasion as ‘somber anniversary’ and vowed to ‘recommit to ensuring the safety of all Americans,’ while former President Barack Obama even praised the students’ gun-control activism in a tweet, saying ‘I’m proud of all of them.’
But Thursday’s anniversary was primarily be about remembering the 14 students and three staff members who died in the third high-profile mass shooting in Florida since 2016.
Parkland victims remembered: The 14 students and three teachers who died on February 14, 2018
Jaime Guttenberg, 14, (left) was described by relatives as a ‘kind-hearted, sweet’ girl. Senior Nicholas Dworet (right) was a gifted swimmer who had his sights set on 2020 Tokyo Olympics success. His devastated college student girlfriend is among those grieving his death. Friends said he was not just a talented athlete, but a ‘good guy’ who will be missed
Martin Duque, 14, (left) was a freshman. Meadow Pollack, 18, (right) was preparing for college
Cara Loughran, 14, (left) loved Irish dancing and the beach. Alyssa Alhadeff, 15, (right) was eulogized by her mother who said she was a talented soccer player and creative mind. ‘All she had to offer the world was love… I just sent her to school and she was shot and killed’
Luke Hoyer (left), 15, was described as a ‘precious’ child by his grandparents, who said he was a ‘good kid’ who ‘never got in trouble’. Joaquin Oliver, 17, (right), was a Venezuelan immigrant who came to the US with his family for a ‘better future’
Gina Montalto, 15, (left) was described as a ‘light and joy’. She volunteered at a local project called The Friendship Initiative as a buddy for children with special needs. Alaina Petty, 14, (right) was also killed. Her Mormon church said she was a ‘valiant’ member
Carmen Schentrup, 16, (left) was a gifted student who last year was named as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. ROTC student Peter Wang, 15, (right) also died. Students said that Peter held the door open for others while they fled
Alex Schachter, 14, (left) was described by his father Max as a ‘sweetheart of a child’ who ‘just wanted to do well and please his parents’. Helena Ramsey, 17, (right) was described by relatives as a ‘reserved’ and studious girl who was due to go to college next year
Geography Scott Beigel, 35, (left) was shot dead as he tried to lock the door of his classroom again after letting a group of fleeing students in to hide. They were running away from the gunman. Athletic director Chris Hixon, 49, (right) was also killed shielding students
Aaron Feis, 37, (center) died acting as a human shield. The track coach had thrown himself on top of the kids to stop the bullets from hitting him. He was a former student and was also a security guard at the school where he had worked for eight years