Gunshot Victim Finally Able to Thank Medical Student Who Saved His Life 25 Years Ago
25 years ago, a Maryland medical student took a wrong turn after getting lost while driving and ended up answering a gunshot victim’s prayer. Earlier this month, Damon Walker reunited with the man who saved his life, Dr. Michael Franks.
“I constantly think about that moment of being in the gutter and not having any hope to live, you know, knowing that death was imminent,” Walker told CNN. “I said a simple prayer that it would be nice if somebody came to pick me up.”
Walker said he was in shock when a car drove up to him and “an angel” appeared. Franks was a medical student at the time, and saved Walker’s life on New Year’s Day in 1996.
This was the first time the pair had met since that night so many years ago, after Walker and his mother searched online to find the Good Samaritan that appeared that day. Once they found Franks, now a urologist in Virginia, they gave him a call. Franks was unaware of what had happened to Walker or if he even survived.
“We talked, we connected, we did a little hug and then we went and had some lunch across the street from my office and just talked a little more and processed things, just not for closure, but for seeing where he is and what happened,” Franks, 52, told CNN. “I assume the worst when someone has a spinal cord injury, it’s a tough life. He looked really good. He had the most positive vibe ever.”
As they revisited what happened that night, Franks learned that Walker, then 18, was leaving a nightclub with friends when a car pulled up with several men in it. A fight broke out, and Walker was shot three times. As everyone else ran away from him, Franks came toward him.
One he was released from the hospital, went through physical therapy and adjusted to his new life in a wheelchair, Walker says he dedicated himself to learning and reading, as he was “functionally illiterate” at the time. He worked as a peer counselor, and is now a violence prevention specialist at a local hospital. Walker helps gunshot or stabbing victims get jobs or assist them however he can.
“If you help these people heal, you might be healing more than a bullet wound,” he said. “You might be healing some aspect of not trusting the system, not trusting people that now they can offer understanding to other people that go through the same thing.”
Walker wanted to reconnect with Walker to let him know he helped save him and his community. “I know I wouldn’t have been able to give that (to my community) if it wasn’t for him helping me that day,” said Walker.
Image source: CNN