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Vegas Stronger Champion: 1 October survivor helps Las Vegas heal

Posted at 6:54 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 22:02:39-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There’s a space near downtown Las Vegas where windmills blow and flowers grow. It’s a garden to honor the lives lost in the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting of October 1, 2017.

The Healing Garden is also a sanctuary for the victims and their families, but some who were impacted by the tragic event cope differently.

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"For me, I just stay vocal with my family and friends on what I need and where I’m at in my journey,” said Karessa Royce. She is a 1 October survivor.

Royce says, after multiple surgeries, she’s fortunate to have made a full recovery. While physically she’s ok, her healing journey continues.

With the help of her family, friends and the Las Vegas community, she copes by helping victims like herself.

"When I returned to UNLV's campus to finish my degree after I had my surgeries, I was just always looking for ways to get plugged in.”

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Royce partnered with the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center, an organization dedicated to providing counseling and financial assistance to those impacted by the shooting. She also presented a TED Talk to UNLV on post-traumatic growth.

Today, Royce serves on the 1 October Memorial Committee, a seven-member group gathering public input to make the final recommendations for what will be the permanent 1 October memorial.

"When we cross the finish line for that project, it will be something that our entire community will feel so connected by," she said. "Visit the space and remember everything that our community has been through.”

RELATED: Work continues on permanent 1 October memorial at Route 91 Festival grounds

The Battle Born activist hopes her message will resonate beyond the Las Vegas valley.

"The term 'Vegas strong' is more than just a hashtag or a bumper sticker. I think it’s a message of healing and connection, and this event truly did remind us how fragile life is and how human we really are.”

A representative for Findlay Automotive Group, the sponsor of the 13 Action News "Vegas Stronger Champion" segment, had this message for Royce:

“I’m with Findlay Automotive Group and I just want to say thank you for what you do. We think that that represents all that’s good in our community and all the things that make Las Vegas such a great place to be. And so for that, we want to recognize you as our Vegas Stronger Champion. We’re going to send you over a check for $599 to maybe help a little bit, so I just want to say congratulations.”

Royce wants to remind anyone who may be struggling to reach out to the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center.

You can call the center at (702) 455-2433 or visit their website VegasStrongRC.org.

Vegas Stronger Champion is sponsored by Findlay Automotive.