1 October survivor's phone call changed her life - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU


1 October survivor's phone call changed her life

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Rachel Sheppard said her boyfriend Jesse Morrow supported her throughout her recovery process. (FOX5) Rachel Sheppard said her boyfriend Jesse Morrow supported her throughout her recovery process. (FOX5)

Going to the Route 91 Harvest Festival was a last minute decision for Rachel Sheppard. She bought her ticket from a friend less than a week before the concert. She said the only night her group of friends was all together, was the final night, when the music stopped as shots rang out. 

"We were all standing there singing, then I flew back like three feet," Rachel said of the moment she was hit. 

Rachel was hit in the chest three times, a complete stranger picked her up and got her to the medical tent. She said it took about 20 minutes to get there because they kept having to duck and hide from the gunfire raining down. 

"There was one time in the medical tent I was like 'This is it, I am going to die.'"

Rachel said she asked for her phone so she could make one single phone call. 

"I thought my life was over. I didn't want him to feel like I didn't say goodbye. I told [my friend] 'I want to talk to Jesse. I want to tell him I love him, in case I die.'"

Jesse Morrow, is Rachel's boyfriend who was in Italy for work.

"All she said was 'I love you', and I said 'are you okay?' And she said 'I don't know' then she hung up," Jesse said. "Something was definitely wrong, terribly wrong."

What Rachel, nor Jesse knew at the time was she had been shot in the chest three times, a bullet hit her aorta, her spleen and liver. Jesse, still not knowing what happened at the Route 91 Concert, began trying to get a flight home from Italy. 

"It was 18 hours altogether," he said of his flight home. "I just kept thinking 'God, I hope she's okay.'"

As Jesse made his way to Las Vegas, Rachel, somehow still fully conscious, made it to Sunrise Hospital. Doctors took one look at her and took her in for immediate surgery.

"The doctor grabbed my face and he said 'You're going to [expletive] make it, and you're going to [expletive] do this and you're going to be here,' and then I went under," Rachel said. 

She flat-lined twice during her four surgeries, and her doctors at Sunrise Hospital called Rachel their biggest save. She had pulled through her surgeries, but when Jesse got there, nearly a full day later, she was still in critical condition and in and out of consciousness. 

"When I walked in, she still had the breathing tube in, and she was all opened up from her chest down, she looked like a baked potato," Jesse said. 

Jesse said it was like a light switched on and Rachel was back.

"He rubbed my temples and I opened my eyes," Rachel said. 

Almost losing Rachel was the most difficult thing Jesse said he's ever been through and he still has trouble putting into words what the entire experience was like. 

"I don't even know what to say about it," he said. "You can't explain it."

Doctors told Rachel she would be in the hospital for at least six months. She was out in less than one. As Rachel began to heal, Jesse decided to make a new kind of future for the two, so two months and two days after he almost lost her forever, Jesse decided to make a new kind of forever for the two of them.

"On Dec. 15, it was totally unexpected. I was on the couch and he got water," Rachel said. "Then he popped down on one knee and I was balling and he was like 'So is that a yes?'" she said laughing.

Rachel said she is wasting no time planning her dream wedding. 

"Everybody is like 'Don't you want it small?' and I'm like 'No. This is about celebrating our love and it's a celebrating we are still together and that this could have been an end," she said.

But 1 October wasn't the end, it was a new beginning for the two of them that started with that phone call.

"I hold her tighter now, and hold her hand more. I just want to make sure everything counts," Jesse said.

Rachel and Jesse are to be married in Aug. in Nebraska. She said despite what happened to her, she wants to have her bachelorette party beforehand in Las Vegas. 

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