VEGAS MASSACRE SURVIVOR: Tucson woman's battle long from over

Las Vegas shooting survivor Savannah Sanchez. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Las Vegas shooting survivor Savannah Sanchez. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Updated: Feb. 1, 2018 at 5:05 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Savannah Sanchez survived the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

Sanchez was one of the more than 800 people injured Oct. 1, 2017 when a gunman opened fire during a music concert in Las Vegas.

Her road to recovery has been long, winding and no where near over.

"I think the physical therapy is going to help the most, honestly," Sanchez said in an exclusive interview with KOLD News 13. "That's going to help me get back to normal so it doesn't hurt getting up from a chair - or getting out of bed."

The damage done to her body is extensive.

She said she hasn't read much about what happened that night, but she did want to set the record straight because some of what she saw about her injuries wasn't true.

Las Vegas shooting survivor Savannah Sanchez goes through physical therapy in Tucson. (Source: Tucson News Now)

"I actually got shot in the back," Sanchez said. "It went through my lung and there was no exit wound. It went through my lung, my diaphragm and it went through my spleen and kind of destroyed it. It went through my liver and broke off and made multiple holes in my stomach."

Sanchez spent 42 days in a hospital in Las Vegas and has had multiple surgeries."I was in ICU for 19 days so I started physical therapy shortly after I woke up from the breathing tube," she said. "The nurses had to help me sit up at the edge of the bed and I couldn't even stand because I was so dizzy and weak."

Her focus now is on her recovery and not looking back on that deadly night.

Sanchez has been in Tucson with her mother and three sisters since she was released, even though she lived in California before the shooting.

Savannah Sanchez, right, hugs her mother Melissa O'Hagin. (Source: Tucson News Now)

"That's been the best part, spending all this time with my family," she said.

Melissa O'Hagin, Sanchez's mother, said people don't realize in some ways, leaving the hospital is just the beginning of the struggle for survivors.

"People think 'Oh, she's OK - they let her out.'" O'Hagin said. "But it was way harder afterward. The emotions, just all the tasks."

The small movements and hard work are starting to pay off. Sanchez was able to go out to celebrate her birthday with family and friends a few weeks ago.

But she still has bad, painful days. Her good days are the kind most of us take for gr anted.

"I guess the good days are when we're out and about doing something, feeling normal," she said. "Even just going grocery shopping or something makes me feel back to normal."

Savannah Sanchez, center, and her mother Melissa O'Hagin talk with KOLD News 13's Craig Thomas. (Source: Tucson News Now)

O'Hagin said she's already seen so much progress.

"It's watching your baby walk for the first time or something momentous like that - just ecstatic," O'Hagin said.

Sanchez and her family will be even more ecstatic when she's able to make a sound all of us associate with happiness.

"Honestly, it kind of hurts to laugh," she said. "You'd think it be something great but it's painful, it hurts."

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