Gabby (Gabrielle) Giffords

I attended a small-scale political event called,  "Congress On Your Corner" at a Tucson grocery store to give my constituents a chance to meet with me,  but  the  event  soon  turned  deadly  when  a    22-year-old man shot me in the head. In addition to wounding the me he also wounded several others and killed six more people.

After the shooting, I was rushed to the hospital where I underwent emergency surgery. Miraculously, I made a remarkable comeback from my injuries in the weeks and months that followed. I regained my ability to talk, walk and handle other everyday activities after going through extensive rehabilitation.

While I still occasionally suffer from survivors’ guilt when I think about the loved ones of those who did not live. I remain passionate about focusing forward rather than dwelling on the past. And I have had quite a past both filled with incredible pleasure and an equal amount of pain.

I've known the darkest of days. Days of pain and uncertain recovery. But confronted by despair, I've summoned hope. My recovery is a daily fight but fighting makes me stronger. Words once came easily. Now I struggle to speak even though my mind is as sharp as ever.

After I was shot, along with so many others, as my life flashed before me, I thought I was going to die.

Yet here I am! While it has been a very difficult recovery since 2011, "Every day in Every way, I am getting better and better."

Determination and persistence took over me and by May of the same year, I was able to travel from the Huston hospital where I was receiving rehabilitation treatment to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch of the final mission of space shuttle Endeavour, commanded by her husband, Mark Kelly. It felt incredibly important to be there supporting him as he was supporting me so tirelessly.  

In January 2012, I resigned from Congress to devote my time to my recovery. The only way I ever served my district in Congress was by giving 100 percent. In my resignation letter I wrote, "This past year, that's what I have had to give to my recovery. Every day I am working hard. I will recover and will return, and we will work together again for Arizona and for all Americans."

My life-changing ordeal has only strengthened my marriage to Mark, who retired from NASA in 2011. We penned a book together about her recovery, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope, which was published in 2011. 

We also co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, an organization that seeks to reduce gun violence. Its mission is to "encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.

Mark is my voice when I cannot speak. He is also my biggest fan.  (Continued at Right)

"The injury Gabby suffered was horrific and it will affect her the rest of her life. If roles were reversed, I'd be a little bit bitter, but she isn't.

I have been truly blessed with a husband who is such a smart, supportive and sincere man as well as a happy person. He is always of the attitude that if he doesn't like his life, he can change it. That it's perfectly in his power to make a big change if he wants it. We are very much alike in that way.

He in turn says what he learned from me is how you use policy to improve people's lives... Solving some of the hardest problems requires one thing, and that's teamwork. And we have become quite a team in life.

She pops up every day looking ahead and trying to figure out how to be a positive force in the world." 

In 2017, six years after the shooting, I had regained a great deal of her former abilities including riding my bike, doing yoga, and enjoying movies and cooking.  Mark would tell me and anyone within earshot, "There's no doubt about it: The six years since the shooting have brought us a lot closer together. Now we live in the same place and see each other more than we ever did. Now we live in the same place and see each other more than we ever did. It's taught me how important it is for a relationship to have a strong foundation of loyalty and respect."

Together we founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a non-profit organization working to reduce gun violence. We both serve on the board of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, and Mark serves on three corporate boards and works with Worldview, an aerospace company he co-founded. And now Mark is running for Senate with me by his side like he was by mine before I was shot. When Mark speaks of the benefit of having a wife who has been there is this,  "What I learned from my wife is how you use policy to improve people's lives... Solving some of the hardest problems requires one thing, and that's teamwork." 

I continue to be optimistic while I still struggle daily with Aphasia. I AM ALIVE and Moving Forward with what I am passionate about in my life, my marriage, my community and for my country. 

I will continue to fight against Gun Violence as long as I breath.

Follow or Connect with Gabby Giffords via her website, on Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn, Instagram or YouTube.

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