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Tina Davis stood up from her wheelchair to walk across the finish line at Saturday’s 5K with the assistance of her two sons, Mason and Mark. “The amount of love and support was so overwhelming and I thought I can never pay it back so I can only pay it forward.”
Tina Davis may be confined to a wheelchair with no feeling at all in her right leg below her knee, but the doggedly-determined former fitness instructor says she is planning to run 12 half marathons in 2020 - and she already has them picked out.
Davis was shot seven times with a 40 caliber pistol on February 12th. Her husband, Ronald Goss, who she was separated from at the time, is charged with attempted murder, nine counts of aggravated battery, home invasion and attempted arson.
At last Saturday’s Tina’s Cat Run, a 5k to benefit Cherokee Family Violence Center and North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network, Davis recounted her story to the 281 runners who came out to support her and the cause.
“I was shot seven times with a 40 caliber pistol. Four of those seven were defensive wounds,” Davis said.
The first shot hit her in the chest. “Thank God for breast implants because instead of it going straight through and taking out my lung and shoulder blade there was just enough resistance to tip it up and it came out up higher on my back so it didn’t hit a vertebrae,” she said.
The next bullets hit her in the left hand. Another bullet tore through her left shoulder and came out her tricep. She now has a titanium rod in that arm.
“Thank goodness I had my phone in my right hand so I threw up my left hand. A bullet went through and through on my hand. The bone in my thumb I lost and it took out my ligament on my finger.”
Davis said she then turned and was shot in the hip, a hit that took her to the floor.
“That shattered half of my L3 and L4 vertebrae. That’s the one that put me in the wheelchair. This is a God thing. That bullet ricocheted up through my torso but didn’t pierce anything.”
Davis said that bullet grazed her liver, spleen, pancreas and a rib. Doctors had to cut her open vertically from her upper chest to the top of her pelvis.
“I had 40 staples and they left me open for two days,” she said.
But her ordeal wasn’t over. After the hip shot, she said Goss stood over her while she lay facedown on the floor intending to shoot her in the head. A bullet that had ricocheted off the tile in her bathroom had hit Goss in the head, causing his vision to blur, she said.
“So he shot and missed,” Davis said.
Instead of hitting her full on in the head, Davis said the bullet hit the floor beside her left chin.
“Every time I get discouraged all I have to do is touch my face,” she said. “God was with me that morning. God Himself stepped in. That bullet ricochetted, hit my left cheek, went in and shaved the enamel off my bottom cap, went up and hit my top two caps and changed trajectory, went across and split the roof of my mouth, went through my sinus cavity and shaved my orbital bone and the bullet was sitting crossways on my cheek under my skin.”
“It didn’t break my jaw. Didn’t hit my tongue. Didn’t damage my eye. The plastic surgeon went down the bottom (right) eyelid to take the bullet out and I’ve now got titanium mesh holding my eyeball up.”
Davis said her story is just too miraculous not to share and “people need to know there is a God and He takes care of people.”
Davis spent eight days in Kennestone’s Intensive Care Unit. When she woke up she said she couldn’t feel or move anything below her waist. She spent 19 days at Kennestone before being moved on March 1st to the Shepherd Center’s in-patient program for six weeks. She went to her sister’s house on April 18th.
Davis, a long-time fitness instructor and runner, had spent the previous year running in six half marathons. “In 2017 I did five half marathons, one for each decade of my life, and then I decided to do a sixth one because I would get a bigger medal,” she quipped. She and her doctors credit her incredible physical strength to getting through this ordeal.
“My mom had said when I was running all those races ‘wasn’t I hurting my body?’ but after this she told me she would never say another word about me exercising.”
Davis, a Body Pump instructor at Jasper Fitness, was incredibly physically strong and doctors said her conditioning and her dedication are what have allowed her to make such strides in her recovery.
“They said people have a two year window to see improvement and I’m only eight months in,” she said during an interview Monday.
On August 20th, Davis went back to Shepherd’s Day Program for four more weeks of rehab following hand surgery. Now she is in Shepherd’s Beyond Therapy Program and spends three days a week, two hours at a time, on physical conditioning.
“It’s a 12 week program and I hope to move from the wheelchair to a walker then to the two-hand “sticks” and at the end of this 12 weeks I hope to be walking unassisted.”
And by 2020, she plans on running half marathons.
“If it’s achievable, I’ll do it.”