Valley woman shot in head in Las Vegas massacre making progress

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Jovanna and Francisco. Courtesy: Andrea Bernardo Jovanna and Francisco. Courtesy: Andrea Bernardo
QUEEN CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Valley woman shot in the head in the Las Vegas massacre Oct. 1 is in for a long and hard recovery. But after doctors said her injury was not survivable, her husband tells us he is grateful for her progress.

"It's not that the doctors were wrong, it's just Jovanna's strong and proved them wrong," said Francisco Calzadillas about his wife.  "She's starting to talk a little bit and say words and she’ll reach out for your hand and she’ll even kiss when I ask for a kiss so we have something to work with."

[RELATED: Wife of Salt River police officer in critical condition following Las Vegas shooting]

Jovanna was shot when they were at the country concert near Mandalay Bay. Calzadillas tells us a bullet traveled through her brain. Doctors started talking to him about donating Jovanna’s organs.

"It’s tough to see your loved one laying [sic] there and there's nothing you can do," he said, "It's up to her and she's strong but it hurts that we’re so helpless."

"A few weeks after the shooting, Jovanna was flown to a neurological rehab facility. She had been in a coma, but then last month, she started opening her eyes. And on Thanksgiving, she laughed," said Calzadillas.

"Every day she starts doing something different," he said. "A week ago she wouldn’t talk, now she's laughing."

Francisco said their kids, 11 and 3 years old, are her motivation. He added that every night he prays for those who lost family members or friends in that massacre.

As much pain as they've been through, he knows those people would give anything to see their loved one laugh again.

If you would like to help the family, they have set up a GoFundMe page. 

There is also a silent auction Saturday. For more information, click here.

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

Click to learn more about Lindsey

Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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