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Now in Tennessee, Parkland shooting survivor reflects on mass shootings in US

Parkland Shooting Survivor
Posted at 4:47 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 19:24:27-04

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF)  — A now-local shooting survivor of Parkland, Florida is flabbergasted by the influx of mass shootings.

On Valentine's Day in 2018, an active shooter entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

"I remember crying. We had to leave our bags where they were, and I remember the SWAT kicking down the door," survivor Kylee Blake said.

That day, 17 people were killed, and 17 others were hurt in the shooting.

"I was sitting on a table with my teacher, my friend, myself, and then the rest of my class was underneath this table and the only defense I had for myself that day was I said a prayer. I’m like, 'God if we’re supposed to go, please do it, and make it quick.'" Blake said. "'And if we’re not, please show a way that I can, or we can as a community, help future generations.'"

Blake and her mom, Lisa DePalma Corum, moved to Franklin after the shooting to regroup.

Blake said therapy has helped her manage her PTSD. She’s now in school at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, but some of her classmates are still struggling day to day.

"It was very heavy, very heavy, and I feel — my heart still goes out to her friends," DePalma Corum said.

Between Uvalde and two mass shootings in Chattanooga recently, Blake said it brings flashbacks.

"Because this is a situation that just keeps happening like it’s nothing, and there are little bombs that are going off everywhere, my heart feels heavy. I pray for the ones that are struggling right now," Blake said.

She wants to encourage survivors to focus on their healing journey.

"I think it’s important for people to realize, no matter how difficult it is, the lives that were lost, they can live through you," Blake said, "Small things: get up every morning, make your bed, it all kind of goes back to baby steps and the basics of trying your best every single day."

She's studying business at UTC, and in the future, she wants to find a way to help others who are struggling with trauma.