HOUSTON — On Thursday night, Harris Health System honored a group of people who lived to tell their incredible stories of survival.
They're a testament to the human spirit as well as proof of the miracles doctors within the system are able to provide.
All of them overcame the odds and were treated at the trauma centers at either Ben Taub or LBJ hospitals.
At some points in their journeys, it seemed impossible to imagine that one day they'd be able to celebrate their recoveries.
Trauma survivor Krysten Patterson said all she has to do is look at her tattoo to remind her of her story.
"It's a therapy for me," she said. "It represents my 'alive date,' the day that I fought so I could still be here."
In June 2019, Patterson answered what she thought was a familiar knock at the door at her northwest Harris County apartment. It turned out to be a home invasion. She was staring down the barrel of a gun with a person telling her to hand over all of her money.
Then, the person pulled the trigger and shot her in the chest and hand. She said her recovery has been as painful physically as it has been mentally.
"Hard days, hard nights, nightmares, jumping from therapist to therapist," she said.
Her journey took place within the Harris Health System. Each year, they celebrate their trauma survivors.
Cody Langley spent 25 days at Ben Taub after he was injured at a street racing event in northwest Harris County.
"I remember everything up until the cars lining up at the starting line," he said.
A driver lost control and crashed into him.
"I fractured my pelvis in four places. I fractured vertebrae in my back. I lacerated my spleen," Langley said.
Those were just a few of his injuries but just like his fellow survivors, he has recovered from the unimaginable.
"I knew I'd get back to being normal," Langley said. "Keep putting one foot in front of the other."
For Patterson, the celebration date now marks an opportunity to see how much she's fought and how much she's overcome.
"I try not to dwell on it as something negative that happened to me," she said. "And prove to myself that I still deserve to be here."
The Harris County District Attorney's Office said the driver in Langley's case got community service and probation.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office said Patterson's case is still open and they're looking for tips. Anyone with information is asked to call HCSO or Crime Stoppers.