School shooting survivor turns tragedy into positive experience

Turning tragedy into positivity
It's been more than two years since a 15-year-old fired off a gun inside Madison Junior/Senior High School, and now one of the survivors is turning the tragedy into something positive.

MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - Cameron Smith, 17, was eating lunch inside the school in February 2016 when a classmate shot him twice. He is still recovering.

Smith's grandmother remembers every detail of the day.

"I turned on the scanner, and it said 'shooting in the cafeteria,' and I knew it was his lunch time, so I sent him a text, and he didn't answer," recalled Melody Hollingsworth.

The memory is a painful part of their lives.

"I can recall almost everything to a tee because it's something I can't forget," said Smith.

What was once a life of sports and school became a life of doctors appointments and hospital visits.

"I was playing football and baseball at the time," said Smith. "(Now) I can't do that."

The bullets went in through Smith's hip and leg and one ricocheted into his spine. Several surgeries later, he's progressing, but there's at least another surgery planned down the line.

"If it rains or it's cold or it's hot, I'm just in miserable pain," said Smith.

What unfolded that day took a toll on Smith's mind and body. He's playing catch up with his school work and is easing himself into a normal routine.

"I was diagnosed with (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)," said Smith.

Despite what he's endured, Smith is focused on the future. He went to the Ohio state capitol to encourage lawmakers to pass Bill 585, which allows judges to order potentially dangerous people to give up their guns. He is also working with an organization called Sandy Hook Promise.

"I want to talk with (Sandy Hook Promise) and go to schools and maybe become one of their speakers to help prevent someone else from making the same mistake the shooter did," said Smith.

Smith said overcoming the obstacles he faces is never easy, but if he can help someone else, it all pays off.

Since Smith is still undergoing medical care, there are fundraisers in place to help him and his grandmother with medical expenses, including a GoFundMe page. There are also community fundraising events being planned.

As for the shooter, Austin Hancock, he is currently serving a six-year sentence in a juvenile detention center.

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