Future Healers Program honors children killed by gun violence

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 3:36 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - On Wednesday, families and children from the Future Healers program honored the children who have lost their lives to gun violence.

Together, they want to share their dreams and hope to end the daunting gun violence issue in Louisville, while honoring the children killed and doctors who tried to save them.

Just this year alone, 24 children fell victim to one of the cities most pressing issues.

Louisville continues to surpasses it’s record homicide rate each year. In 2021, 181 homicides have been confirmed, with 24 of those being children under the age of 18.

One of those affected was Nylah Lanier, who was shot and killed over this past summer.

“I sat on my porch and I heard gun fire,” Nylah’s mother Candy Tunstull said. “Not knowing that that gun fire was killing my baby. My daughter was 16-years-old.”

Nylah got caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting three blocks from home on her way to her aunt’s house.

“I literally made it to her on her body,” Tunstill said. “I never realized how much gun violence will affect me and my family.”

Tunstull and the children from the Future Healers Program along with UofL Department of surgery paused to honor the lives of children killed and impacted by gun violence.

Dr. Keith Miller is one of several medical personnel who fights to save those young lives on the table.

“There are kids in our neighborhoods who go to sleep to the sound of gunfire” Miller said. “Who wake up in the morning and think about how they’re going to get to school safely. We have children in our family who carry the grief and loss throughout the entire day. This is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable.”

Even for children who survive their gunshot injuries, the journey to recovery is rarely smooth.

Jessica Joins’s 11-year-old daughter Alexis Lewis was shot in the hand while she was in her bed. She’s had four surgeries with possibly more in the future and daily physical therapy.

“It’s something that’s a struggle every day when she wakes up and sees it,” Joins said. “It’s something the community must come together with and stop the gun violence.”

“If we don’t get ahold of the youth there’s going to be more mothers,” Tunstull fell silent. “And I promise you, I wouldn’t feel no mother to feel the way I feel.”

The ultimate message for the future healers is that violence is a difficult problem, but not impossible if they work together.

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