Manitoba survivor of Las Vegas shooting reunites with rescuers one year later
While 365 days have passed since the mass shooting in Las Vegas, for many survivors, it’s just the start of a long journey.
One year later, survivors and family members of the victims at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival are still healing, physically and emotionally.
For Jody Ansell, part of that process meant coming back to where her life changed.
WATCH: Jody Ansell recalls the terrifying moments after gunman opened fire at a Las Vegas music festival
“It’s just really important as my healing process, just to face everything and go through it, and all the emotions,” Ansell said. “It’s been really tough, but I’m doing it.”
Fifty-eight people were killed and 869 others injured when gunfire blasted down from the Mandalay Bay on a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers.
Ansell, who is from Stonewall, Man., had flown in from Vancouver for the concert and this year, she made the difficult trek back.
“Very hard seeing the Mandalay Bay,” Ansell said. “Just the concert venue that is now empty, and it’s just very hard.”
But what made it easier is an unexpected bond, between her and two American women, Jolene Bennett and Karyn Sherman, who helped save her life — her angels.
“We’re like sisters,” Ansell said through tears.
When the gunfire started Ansell started running. She got hit in the arm with a bullet and kept running until two women driving by finally stopped to pick her up.
“You [could] hear her yelling, ‘I’ve been shot!’ She’s holding up her arm, and blood’s just gushing out of her arm,” Sherman said. “We pull over, and Jolene grabbed her, threw her in my car.”
“Jody was in the middle of the street with no shoes and you could see the blood dripping from her arm,” Bennett said.
WATCH: Las Vegas shooting survivors reunite at Route 91 event ahead of one year anniversary
Bennett and her friend Karyn Sherman immediately stopped their car and pulled Jody inside.
“She gets in the car, she sits on my lap, and all I remember are her eyes,” Bennett said. “I took off my shirt and made a tourniquet, tied it around her arm as tight as I could, and held her arm to the ceiling, and just continued to tell her she’s going to okay.”
They managed to make it to a nearby airport hangar where more than two dozen people were hiding out. The shooting was still happening.
“I [was] covered from head to toe in Jody’s blood, not realizing it because you don’t think about it,” Bennett said. “I just remember looking at her in her eyes. She just continued to say, tell me, ‘Don’t leave me, don’t leave me.'”
WATCH: Survivor recalls rescuing Las Vegas shooting victim one year later
It was two and a half hours before they were able to find a police officer and to help get Ansell to the hospital.
He became her next guardian angel.
Patrol Officer Tony Dellorso was nearby in his cruiser. He had arrived on scene within 90 seconds of the shooting and was blocking traffic to keep people away from the area.
Two women came running up to him, yelling for help to get Ansell to the hospital.
“She was still losing a lot of blood,” Dellorso recalled. “She had a real pale look. She was aware of what was going on around here. It took us, even with me rolling with my lights and siren, probably a good 10 minutes to get out there. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life.”
“She was alert enough to know what was happening, but at the same time you could see that she was fading, for lack of a better word,” he added. “She was fading and she didn’t say anything. She didn’t talk.”
“It wasn’t pretty. You know, almost 24 years doing this job it was probably the worst thing that I’ve ever been involved with. ”
WATCH: Las Vegas woman recalls saving shooting victim one year later
The two were able to reconnect at the hospital the next day when Ansell was being discharged, but she only knew his first name.
Over the weeks, Ansell was able to find each of her angels again to thank them.
“I’ve seen so [many] good people come out of this, and the amazing friends that I have met,” she said. “The people that have helped me along the way — we’re just forever bonded.”
Ansell flew back to Las Vegas to be in the city for the one year anniversary. While her physical wounds are nearly healed, this trip was about healing the emotional scars.
“I’ve had ups and downs, but for the most part I’ve been keeping things together, and going at my own pace,” she said.
WATCH: Manitoba survivor of Las Vegas massacre reunites with saviours
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.