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The Oct. 1, 2017 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas isn’t like to be forgotten by anyone any time soon, whether they’re a country music fan or not. It has the unfortunate distinction of being the most deadly mass shooting in United States history.

For many of us, the massacre is a memory that we can recall from the endless news reports with vivid detail. For others who were actually at the festival watching headliner Jason Aldean that night, the memories are a lot more haunting. Some are still coping with the loss of a loved one, or with the emotional scars or the immeasurable fear. Still others are recovering from physical injuries. Jovanna Calzadillas is one of those. But the tiny dynamo with the formidable spirit has just made a major step forward.

Literally.

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Jovanna and her husband were just two of the thousands who were enjoying a night of country music when shots rang out from a window of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. Jovanna was among those injured, struck in the head by the shower of ammunition.

According to “Good Morning America,” the prognosis for the 30-year-old wife and mother of two wasn’t just bleak, it was the worst. She wasn’t expected to recover. Jovanna’s husband, Frank, was emotional as he told reporters, “I remember I spoke to three doctors there and they all told me the same thing, that there was nothing they could do for Jovanna and that it was a non-survival injury.”

But never underestimate the fortitude of a country music fan and the love of a good man.

Frank said Jovanna came to him in a dream asking him to not give up on her, and he didn’t.

Jovanna survived her dismal diagnosis, and although she is now starting over, learning to speak again and walking with assistance, her sense of humor is completely intact.

In a press conference, the petite brunette joked, “I feel strong and positive, plus I get to boss my husband around. I’ll just smack him with my cane.”

But Frank wasn’t the only one that didn’t give up. Jovanna said that her kids and her family kept her going. “I will not quit on them and I will not quit on myself,” she said.

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Her voice breaking as she continued with her inspiring statement, Jovanna went on to say, “On Oct. 1, a part of me changed that night. Even though I will not be the same old Jovanna, I will come back stronger. We will not let people like [the shooter] win and we will not live in fear.”

Amen, Jovanna.

Our love and prayers are with all of those who are still struggling with the physical and emotional scars of this unfathomable night of terror. We also continue to pray for the families of the 58 souls who did not survive this tragedy.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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