San Antonio Alana Castaneda has struggled to recover physically, emotionally and mentally nearly a year after being shot in the face by a carjacker at Alamo Quarry Market.
“My perspective on life changed completely, because I remember that night, I was in this limbo between life and death,” Castaneda said.
That balance between life and death tipped in Castaneda’s favor about a year ago.
On Nov. 2, 2021, police say Julio Cesar Rivera, then 18, shot Castaneda in the face outside a Whole Foods because he wanted her car.
“That was the hardest battle. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life, coming in and coming out,” Castaneda said.
She went through hours of physical therapy and several surgeries.
The mental battle was just as tough.
“I feel very happy to still be here with my family, which is great. But I have my moments, I know, why did this happen to me,” Castaneda said.
Castaneda was touched by the events that took place in Uvalde on May 24 at Robb Elementary. They traveled there to support the families of 21 victims, knowing how gun violence affects them.
“These children should not be here to destroy people’s lives and take innocent lives away from their families and friends. This is not true,” she said.
Her suspect is still awaiting trial. Castaneda said it was difficult to see him when he appeared in court.
This past year, she found solace in a trauma support group and simple moments with the people who love her.
She hopes sharing her story will help someone else.
“If my story can help someone else out there, whatever they’re going through, it makes everything I’ve been through worth it,” Castaneda said.
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