We're now learning more about the daughter of a Marietta native who was shot several times and is now fighting for her life in a Florida intensive care unit.
Family members confirm that after two days and three surgeries, Maddy Wilford is doing better than anyone would have hoped - now alert and communicating. She was also awake for a meeting with President Donald Trump who came to Florida on Friday.
“Maddy is one of the sweetest girls you’ll ever meet,” Kendra Crompton said, one of Maddy's close friends - almost like family. “She’s kind to everybody.”
Daughter. High school junior. Basketball player.
Of all the things that describe Maddy Wilford, school shooting survivor is the last thing her church family would have ever thought to add.
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“No one should have to go through what Maddy’s going through,” Crompton said.
Crompton is like an aunt to Maddy whose mother moved here from metro-Atlanta.
“No one. And no parent should have to worry about their child going to school and hugging them goodbye and wondering, am I going to see them when they leave for school today?” she said.
But that is exactly the fear the Wilford family, along with dozens of others here in Parkland, Florida, now live in after a gunman stormed the halls of Stoneman Douglass High School killing 17 and injuring many others
“It’s a senseless act,” another friend, Jose Costano, said. “It’s a shame we have people who have to resort to this kind of violence."
A small group of strangers and neighbors gathered to pray for the victims on Friday.
“I hope it’s the last community that this happens to,” Crompton said.
“Everyone is distraught,” Costano said.
Costano’s church lost one student and is now praying for the other, Maddy, to pull through.
“She’s a strong young woman,” Costano said.
She’s someone Crompton described as a true survivor – more so now than ever.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that despite being bonded by grief, this community is now also united in strength.
“It has to stop somewhere,” Crompton said. “Can it stop here in parkland?