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Parkland Survivor Discusses How Her Mormon Faith Helped Her Through Recovery

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A Parkland shooting survivor explained how her Mormon faith helped her through recovery.

Madeleine Wilford, 17, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., discussed how her faith has helped her through the difficult recovery process after receiving critical wounds during a shooting Feb. 14 at her school, reported the Daily Mail. Wilford said she was in her AP Psychology class when she heard gunshots go off.

She hid between a teacher’s podium and desk. Gunman Nikolas Cruz, 19, killed 17 of her classmates and teachers. Cruz shot Wilford four times; she was one of 16 wounded.

“All of a sudden I felt a shot hit me,” said Wilford. “I realized I was shot and an immense amount of pain went over me. The first thing I thought was that I was going to die. I was screaming, ‘Help me! Help me!’ I was frantic. I didn’t know what to do.” She explained that she felt at peace before passing out, thinking that she was about to die. First responders were able to control her bleeding, reported Deseret News.

She had a “very spiritual” experience in her hospital room when Elder Gary E. Stevenson of The Church of the Latter-Day Saints visited and blessed her. ‘There was an immense amount of peace throughout the room. The peace I felt really helped,” said Wilford.

Wilford’s mother credits the miraculous recovery to their faith. “I have to thank my Lord and Savior for sparring my daughters life today,” Missy Cantrell Wilford wrote on Facebook.

Two weeks prior to the shooting, Madeleine gave a speech to hundreds of fellow Mormons. “Most people say they don’t believe in God because if there was a God, all these terrible things wouldn’t be happening,” she said at a conference.

“But that’s what we’re put on this earth to do, to endure a lifetime, and life’s going to be full of ups and downs. The only way we can make it better is to turn toward Christ and know that he always has a plan for us, and he’ll help us through it no matter what,” she recalled saying.

Wilford lost her friend Alaina Petty, a 14-year-old Mormon girl and JROTC cadet, during the Parkland massacre. They both spent a week together at a Mormon church camp. Wilford called Petty amazing and said it is rough losing her.

ALSO WATCH: Parkland JROTC Heroes Save Lives

Wilford was one of the survivors visited by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. The president promised her a personal recommendation to Brigham Young University.

Wilford was released from the hospital Wednesday.

“She was shot four times with an assault rifle at close range and now she’s sitting downstairs a week later with two friends from church, laughing. I can’t even believe it,” her father David Wilford told the Deseret News.

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