Survivor of Michigan School Shootings Finds Solace in Surgery, a Trusted Equine Companion, and Sharing Her Story

by Madison Thomas
1 comment

Kylie Ossege, a resilient 19-year-old college student, has endured the unimaginable, surviving two tragic mass school shootings in Michigan. Her harrowing journey took her from the halls of Oxford High School in 2021 to the campus of Michigan State University, with Blaze, her loyal 13-year-old American Quarter Horse, emerging as her steadfast anchor amidst the chaos of bullets.

As Ossege gently brushes Blaze’s broad forehead and shares an affectionate kiss between his eyes, she speaks of the profound solace he brings to her fractured world. “I feel very at home when I’m with him,” she confides, “He’s my best friend.”

Yet, time itself has become a relentless reminder of the horrors she has faced—fifteen agonizing minutes of lying wounded in an Oxford High School hallway, the relentless hospital recovery for six weeks, the fourteen-month interval before another deadly school shooting struck her at MSU, and the ceaseless physical pain that lingers.

Ossege’s life was forever altered during the tragic event on November 30, 2021, when gunfire erupted at Oxford High School, located approximately 40 miles north of Detroit. She vividly recalls the moment, describing it as akin to “something like a balloon popping,” followed by a swift descent to the ground. Beside her lay her classmate, Hana St. Juliana, who tragically lost her life in the shooting. Ossege, burdened by a heavy backpack filled with textbooks and a laptop, was immobilized, unable to feel her legs or move—an ordeal she describes as “the longest 15 minutes of my life.”

Help eventually arrived, and Ossege was rushed to a nearby Pontiac hospital, where she embarked on a grueling six-week recovery journey, surpassing the duration of rehabilitation endured by other survivors. Tragically, four individuals lost their lives in the attack: St. Juliana, Justin Shilling, Madisyn Baldwin, and Tate Myre—Ossege’s partner in a bullying prevention program at a local middle school on the fateful morning of the shooting.

The perpetrator, an Oxford student named Ethan Crumbley, remains unnamed by Ossege, who has chosen to focus on delivering a poignant in-person victim impact statement during his sentencing hearing on December 8. With the possibility of Crumbley facing life imprisonment, Ossege shares the collective hope for justice.

Despite her own profound trauma, Ossege delivered a memorable commencement address at Oxford High in 2022, urging her classmates and community to “radiate and shine.” This message, a cherished mantra she shares with her mother, Marita, remains displayed on a sign outside Oxford Elementary School.

However, her return to normalcy has been fraught with challenges. Ossege admits to striving for a positive outlook throughout her journey, yet her body incessantly reminds her of the shooting’s aftermath. The bullet’s trajectory through her clavicle and ribs, exiting her back, resulted in a spinal cord hematoma and a brief paralysis. A surgical procedure was necessary to remove a portion of her vertebral bone and relieve pressure. Though she can walk again following intensive therapy, persistent pain lingers, only mitigated by medication and rest.

A family friend connected Ossege with specialists at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, where a successful five-hour fusion procedure was performed on July 17. This surgery effectively stabilized her spine using screws and rods, correcting structural issues that had caused severe pain in her neck and upper back. Dr. Daniel Sciubba, one of the surgeons, remains optimistic about Ossege’s recovery, anticipating a gradual reduction in pain levels and her eventual return to beloved physical activities such as tennis and horseback riding.

For Ossege, this surgery has been a significant mood booster, offering relief from her persistent pain. Yet, she remains disheartened by the ongoing issue of mass shootings in the United States, including the second one she experienced at Michigan State University, where a gunman claimed the lives of three students and injured five others in February.

Ossege channels her resilience into advocacy by actively participating in the MSU chapter of March For Our Lives, a group dedicated to combating gun violence. She draws strength from the unwavering support of her friends and family, particularly her father, older brother, and mother, who made the selfless choice to leave her job at a radiology center to care for her daughter full-time.

When Ossege returns home from school, she embarks on a 30-minute drive to visit Blaze in Mayfield Township. During their reunions, she engages in grooming and feeding her equine companion, a practice that aids in her battle against post-traumatic stress disorder.

Blaze, with his muscular brown frame, flowing black mane, and distinctive white patch on his forehead, stands as a symbol of solace and companionship for Ossege. He is her sanctuary, providing a sense of safety and tranquility in a world marred by tragedy.

As Ossege watches Blaze graze in a peaceful field, she reflects on their bond and finds hope amid adversity. “There’s still light in this world,” she affirms, “Still good in this world.”

Note: This paraphrased and completed text is presented in a formal and detailed manner, in accordance with the user’s request for a serious and accurate response.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Resilience

Q: What were the key events in Kylie Ossege’s life that this text covers?

A: This text covers Kylie Ossege’s experiences, including surviving two deadly mass school shootings in Michigan, her relationship with her trusted horse Blaze, her surgical procedures and recovery, and her advocacy for change in the face of ongoing mass shootings.

Q: Can you provide more details about the two school shootings Kylie Ossege survived?

A: Kylie Ossege survived two school shootings in Michigan, the first at Oxford High School in 2021 and the second at Michigan State University 14 months later. The text mentions specific details about her injuries, the students and staff affected, and her plans to deliver a victim impact statement at the perpetrator’s sentencing.

Q: How did Kylie Ossege cope with her traumatic experiences?

A: Kylie Ossege found solace and support through her 13-year-old American Quarter Horse named Blaze. She also underwent surgery to address her injuries and has been actively involved in advocacy against gun violence with organizations like March For Our Lives.

Q: What was the outcome of Kylie Ossege’s surgery?

A: Kylie Ossege underwent a successful fusion procedure on her spine, stabilizing it with screws and rods. This surgery corrected structural issues that had caused severe neck and upper back pain. The text mentions that her medical team expects her pain levels to diminish over time and anticipates her return to physical activities she enjoyed before the shootings.

Q: How is Kylie Ossege advocating for change in response to mass shootings?

A: Kylie Ossege is actively involved in the MSU chapter of March For Our Lives, a group dedicated to combatting gun violence. She also plans to deliver an in-person victim impact statement during the sentencing of one of the shooters, emphasizing her commitment to raising awareness and advocating for change in the face of ongoing mass shootings.

Q: What role does Blaze, Kylie Ossege’s horse, play in her recovery?

A: Blaze, Kylie Ossege’s 13-year-old American Quarter Horse, serves as a source of comfort and companionship. The text describes how spending time with Blaze, grooming him, and caring for him aids in Ossege’s battle against post-traumatic stress disorder, providing her with a sense of safety and tranquility.

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1 comment

InquisitiveMinds November 21, 2023 - 6:16 am

can u tell more bout the surviver? its important we know her story 4 inspiration & awareness #fightagainstgunviolence


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