CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Summer break is finally here, but for some children living in Cleveland, playing in their own neighborhood isn't always safe. Now, a Cleveland woman who survived a shooting is sharing her story with kids in hopes of saving a life.
It's been almost two years since Shannon Richmond's life changed forever.
She stopped at a gas station at W. 105th Street and Jasper Avenue in Cleveland around 3 a.m. after her bar tending shift in July of 2015, when she heard gunshots.
"I took five bullets. I wasn't supposed to live," Richmond said.
She's fighting every day to walk and now she's reaching out to children and teens so they can see the damage left behind by gun violence for their own eyes.
Richmond told her story at track practice for the Cleveland Mustang Track and Field Club this week.
"The gun violence is completely out of control in Cleveland right now. And if I can prevent one child from joining a gang or picking up a gun to commit a violent crime, I'm gonna do that," she said.
Richmond was left paralyzed after the shooting. She spent months in a hospital and then was transferred to a nursing home after she fell into a coma. But now she's determined to walk again. She travels back and forth from Ohio to Florida for rehabilitation with Project Walk. She's taking it one step at a time.
"My legs are moving, they're just not strong enough yet to support my body on its own, so it has to be assisted," she said.
Her message to these kids is simple -- find something positive in your life.
Christian Anderson, 12, says track keeps him busy.
"It was a good talk, telling us guns and violence aren't the answer to anything. All they do is cause more problems and injure more lives," he said.
Coach Jeremy Odom says some of the children who run for him have been affected by gun violence themselves.
"It brings them something positive they can do. We have a lot of structure here and the kids enjoy it. So it keeps them away from some bad things that's out there," Odom said.
Richmond hopes running is enough to keep these children on track. She hopes seeing what happened to her in person leaves a lasting impression.
"I'm trying to turn my tragedy into something positive and make a difference in this world," Richmond said.
Cleveland Police still haven't caught the suspect who shot Shannon. There is a $2,500 reward from Crimestoppers for any information.
If you would like to help Shannon walk again, you can donate to her recovery fund on GoFundMe here.