God definitely brought Christina Kitcat and Kelly Culbertson together for a reason. While attending the country music festival which turned into the Las Vegas massacre, Christina was shot in the heart. And there's no way she would have survived without the quick-thinking of her devoted firefighter boyfriend!
Kelly, a firefighter and EMT, surprised Christina with tickets to the show as an early birthday present. But they never expected the night to take such a terrifying turn. In fact, as the gunfire broke out, the couple at first thought it was just fireworks.
"I’m like why did everyone bring fireworks? Why did everybody disperse?" Kelly recalled.
But as another round of "fireworks" went off, Christina turned to him and said, "It's hard for me to breathe." Then, she collapsed into his arms. That's when Kelly realized they were under attack.
Shot In The Heart
Kelly dropped to the ground and lay on top of Christina, shielding her from further gunfire. With his training kicking in, Kelly looked his girlfriend over, assessing her injuries. Horrified, he realized things were serious.
29-year-old Christina Kitcat was bleeding profusely. The bullet had gone through her arm, splintered, and then penetrated her heart and lungs. She'd been shot in the heart.
But clearly God had been preparing Kelly for just this moment!
Before all of the chaos broke loose, he'd managed to strike up conversation with two strangers at the concert -- Bruce Pollett - who had been shot in the foot - and Tricia Pollett. They just so happened to be firefighters, too.
So, with Christina injured, Kelly called upon his new friends for help. Bruce had been shot in the foot. But both he and Tricia didn't hesitate to lend a hand.
Kelly knew there were far too many injured people to wait for an ambulance. Christina needed immediate medical attention or she would die. And that's when he spotted a Chevy truck taking injured people to the hospital.
Another Hero Lends A Hand
He called out to the driver, whom he believes to be Marine Taylor Winston. Taylor is one of the heroes from that terrible day.
The Marine stole a truck from the parking lot so he could transport shooting victims to the hospital. He is being credited with saving dozens of lives.
Kelly asked the truck driver if he had room to get Christina to the hospital, to which he replied, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, get in, get in."
As they sped off toward the hospital, Christina fought hard to remain conscious. Terrified, Kelly just kept checking her over to make sure she was okay, that she "was still with me."
"She'd come back, look at me," Kelly recalled. "I'd say, 'Babe, are you with me?' She'd smile. She kept saying, 'I'm going to go to sleep.' I'm like, 'No, you're... not.'"
At the hospital, Kelly and Tricia wheeled Christina into the emergency room. Kelly went into EMT mode, telling the nurse, "29-year-old female with a gunshot to the upper torso" and "she needs surgery soon."
Kelly helped put on Christina's oxygen mask while Tricia applied the EKG. When it came time to leave the rest to the doctors, Kelly, like the true hero he is, busied himself with helping other patients in the waiting room.
A Miraculous Discovery
Christina underwent open-heart surgery, where doctors found the shattered bullet had left four holes in her heart, along with holes in her lungs. However, amazingly, the shrapnel missed all the major coronary arteries. Doctors said it was a miracle!
When Christina awoke, the first person she asked for was Kelly.
'You saved my life,' she said to her heroic boyfriend.
Kelly is just thankful for all the training he received as an EMT. It's how he knew just what to do during such a traumatic experience.
“We have a saying," Kelly said. "We prepare for the worst but hope for the best. I hoped to never have seen that. Or experienced it. Or even seen the aftermath of it.”
After being shot in the heart, Christina is now recovering in the hospital and will be celebrating her 30th birthday -- one she almost didn't see. And being the humble guy he is, Kelly still wrestles with survivor's guilt.
"Why didn't I get hit? Why her? She didn't do anything to anyone," he said. "It was tough."
We rarely understand why things happen they do in this broken world, but God clearly had a plan in all of this. And Kelly's determination to save the woman he loves is truly inspiring.
"It was their love that saved her," one of Christina's friends said.
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