Meghan's story at the Route 91 Harvest Festival <3

Oct.1 mass shooting Survivor family, Presley Jean turns 7 and in lieu of gifts, wants to raise money to donate to Route91Strong to help survivors at her birthday October 6, 2018, in Irvine at 4:00pm; A family friend already gave $10,000! Lisa Fine of Route91Strong is flying there today to attend.

MEGHAN'S STORY:

So, my husband had just left me and I was devastated. I had a 3 month old son at the time. My family, friends and even daughters go to country concerts all the time but had never been to Route 91 so we (my mom) thought it would a fun experience to lift my spirits ... which it did at first. The girls had a blast and danced their little booties off. My son was only 1 so he basically slept through it all in my carrier.

October 1st, we were standing and dancing about halfway back because we had gotten there a little late that day. Being huge fans of Jason Aldean, we were completely in the zone and oblivious to everything around us. When we heard the first couple of rounds of shots, we thought they were fireworks. Fortunately we were dancing next to a fireman and his fiancé we had just met. He obviously knew they were not fire works. He grabbed my 3 and 5 year old daughters and screamed “RUN!” ... he took us out to the parking lot past the fencing that had been knocked down. Not knowing where the shots were coming from, he hid us under a truck with his fiancé.

He then tried to find an open ambulance knowing that they were bullet proof. The shots continued. None of us said a word.. we just held each other so tight. Five minutes later he said take off your boots... we threw our boots and I through my baby carrier and we ran for our lives as shots still fired and people running next to us were being shot to the ground and trampled on. One guy I was running next to got shot in the leg and his friend told me to take off my shirt to help tie up the wound. So I did. And I just started nursing my one year old to keep him completely distracted.

We eventually found an open ambulance which we were put in to hide and there were people everywhere pulling out every type of medical device they could to help the injured. It was so surreal. One off-duty police man brought in a screaming woman who had been shot multiple times and asked my mother to hold her bullet wounds. He then pulled the kids and i to the ground, held our hands and he prayed with and for us. I will never forget that moment.

We were in the ambulance for about an hour. We watched in horror as people who didn’t make it were being placed on the ground behind the ambulance ...the doors were open ...it was somewhat like a triage center. The guy sitting in the ambulance directly across from me had bullet wounds in his chest and shoulder. He was silent but I could see the pain in his face. I found out a week later he didn’t make it.

This whole time we were being told by the police department that it was a terrorist attack and many people were talking about other hotel that had already been under attack. That was the first moment of the night I could have sworn we were not going to live to see tomorrow.

After being in the ambulance for an hour, there were other off-duty police men, firemen and paramedics who said we had to move and it wasn’t save to stay in one spot... They circled us and got us to another ambulance where we just need sat on the ground outside of it with a bunch of wounded people crying. One girl next to me just started hugging me and telling me we were going to be ok. After roughly 10 minutes a group of police officers told us we were going to MGM ... i didn’t want to go but he said is was a safe zone ... again this group of guys risked their lives and circled us as we ran across the parking lot and street to MGM. We were only a couple of feet from the doors when we heard shots go off. At that point the police, my mother and 2 daughters ran to the left and I took my 1 year old son and ran to the right. I kept running thinking that this was it. I found an alley and threw him on the group and then laid on top of him. I never thought I would see my family again. Shortly thereafter a police man found me and helped me find my daughters and mom. He informed us the gunshots were just some asshole firing his own gun in the casino (for who knows what reason).  The police officer got us in a cab and told us to get as far out of Vegas as we could.

We went the M Resort in Henderson and lived in triple XL Vegas shirts and socks for the next 48 hours until we were allowed to get back into Mandalay and retrieve our belongings because it was a “crime scene”....my father, ex husband and sister flew out immediately once hearing the news and my father stayed with us to gather our belongings and my car.  We found out we checked in the same day and were staying one floor directly above him.

I have not been back to Vegas but I know a lot of friends that have gone back as a way of healing. I struggled for a good six months afterwards being in crowds and still do to some extent. I can admit that I honestly haven’t dealt with what happened on October 1st because my focus has been primarily on my children. The ugly divorce I am going through only makes it worse.

My children are now 2, 4, and 6. 

I was most worried about my 4 year old (3 at the time) because of the nightmares she was having and being so emotional ... not to mention, not comprehending what happened. I was wrong and my 6 year old (5 at the time) has struggled the worst. She started getting severe anxiety and panic attacks ...cannot be left alone in a room or even more than a certain amount of space from me. She draws pictures sometimes of the “bad guy” shooting down at us from the hotel. They are both in counseling in and outside of school for trauma and PTSD. I suffer from anxiety but already before this occurred so it has only worsened for me. Like I said, I know my mom and I have a lot of work to do when it comes to healing because we have definitely put that on the back burner.

My girls have drawn pictures and written notes for the victims and for the past year I have wanted to do something to help. I finally decided I would get onboard with some fundraising which somehow turned into a fundraiser I am throwing solo :) But the other part to the fundraiser is that I one day had the thought of combining my daughter (6 year old)’s with the fundraiser. I approached her with the idea, informing her that meant people would not attend with gifts in their hands but that we would be helping all of the people we saw get hurt in Vegas. She got the biggest smile and said “Yes mommy! I want to do that” ... I am extremely worried about her because she already worries about so much... the divorce has done a number on her and she is beyond sensitive. She wears her heart on her sleeve, is extremely emotional and loves deeper than I ever thought a person as capable of. She is definitely an old soul... She’s brilliant but also shy, timid and struggles with this.

There is of course more details to the story.   

The event is Sat. October 6th at 4:00pm

We have hired a band we adore from Nashville. The lead singer is Chris Shrader and I would put money on it that we will be hearing him on our local country stations very soon! He is the sweetest!

I hope you can make it.

--Meghan