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Kelly Cardona

He got a second chance.

Kelly Cardona knows the day he realized how important his wife, Veronica, and two children are to him. It was May 24, 2017, when he was assaulted by three men, shot in the back and robbed. Kelly's assailants were after his money and phone, which he would willingly have given in exchange for his life.

He fainted as he tried walking 10 feet to his brother's apartment. Neighbors found him and summoned his brother and cousin who drove him to Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital. He was unconscious and losing a lot of blood when the trauma team rushed him into an operating suite. The bullet had severely damaged his intestines.

Surgeons repaired his intestines and performed a colostomy. Kelly was in LBJ eight days, and though his care was "very good," he was eager to get home. A month later, he had severe back pain and difficulty walking. He couldn't eat, had lost weight and was ready to give up. An infection took him back to LBJ for another five days and a second surgery.

During the second hospital stay, Kelly felt a shift in his recovery. He credits a staff member who came to his room to draw blood. Her words—"The worst has passed. You survived. You will get through this,"—gave him the drive to keep going. As his infection improved, his appetite returned, and his life began to return to normal. The colostomy was removed in January.

Kelly says his life was forever changed on that May night. He feels he came back from the dead and got a second chance at living. He's more careful now, more aware of his surroundings.

He appreciates the time he has with his family and plans to give them the very best he has to offer. He's thankful to God and to the LBJ staff for his thorough and excellent care. He's especially grateful to his wife and family. He believes he would not have made it without them.