San Tan Valley woman who survived Las Vegas mass shooting speaks about recovery

A survivor of the Las Vegas shooting that happened nearly five years lives in Arizona and she talks about her recovery some doctors never thought possible.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 5:31 PM MST
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SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- We are coming up on five years since a gunman killed 60 people at a country music concert in Las Vegas, marking it the deadliest mass shooting in America. One of the survivors, a woman from San Tan Valley, was shot in the head and is now making a recovery that doctors never thought was possible.

Five years ago feels like yesterday to the Calzadillas’ family. “It feels like the other day,” said Jovanna Calzadillas. On Oct. 1, 2017, Jovanna was among the victims, shot in the head. Doctors told her husband Frank that she was brain dead and recommended taking her off life support. However, Frank noticed small responses from his wife and decided to take her to Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. “I’m so grateful he made that decision,” said Jovanna.

The past half-decade has been a fight. The mother of two had to re-learn how to walk and even speak. Her recovery is beyond what her physician, Dr. Christina Kwasnica, had ever imagined. “I am a believer in miracles, but I believe you can’t have miracles without a lot of hard work, and I think she’s been so focused on the hard work,” said Dr. Kwasnica.

The Calzadillas’ admit their lives changed after that October night. “We avoided large crowds; we stayed home a lot,” said Frank. But over the years, they overcame their very justified fears. “We live life to the fullest,” said Jovanna. And a part of that means walking unassisted without a cane for Jovanna. “My family is my army, so they are motivating for me. My faith and my strength motivate me,” she said.