2 survivor patients speak at annual Trauma Awareness Day event

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Two men who overcame tragic circumstances told their story to a group of patients for annual Trauma Awareness Day.

Both men are thankful to be alive and shared their gratitude at Kendall Regional Medical Center’s sixth annual Trauma Awareness Day, Wednesday.

The ceremony allows patients and their families to visit the place that cared for them as they thanked clinicians and first responders.

High school principal and trauma survivor, Javi Perez, was a keynote speaker.

“When a fellow member of the community falls, or they’re in trouble, they gather up, they rally around us, and thanks to that, we’re able to achieve survival,” Perez said.

Perez was struck by a woman who, police said, was driving under the influence. Perez was on the sidelines of his son’s baseball game last April at the time he was hit.

“My wife tells them, ‘We’re going to Jackson right? Trauma center?’ They’re like, ‘No, we’re going to Kendall Regional,'” Perez said. “My wife’s like, ‘No, we can’t go to Kendall Regional. People die there.’ Honest to God. That was the perception. Thank God they brought me here. I’m here today because of that decision.”

Dr. Mark McKenney, the Program Director of General Surgery also credited Perez’s persistence. “Many hours later, many transfusions later, and many operations later, we have an amazing survival story on somebody who just wouldn’t quit no matter what it took,” he said.

Perez lost both of his legs and spent months in the hospital.

Attorney Larry Harshman was also in attendance and shared his survival story after police said he was shot by his client in November of 2016.

“Every night, when I go to bed, I say my prayers, and I thank the Lord for another day among the living,” Harshman said. “Without this fantastic trauma team, I wouldn’t be here.”

The victim’s wife, Lenora Harshman, also expressed her gratitude. “Larry is my love and my life, and you guys not only saved my husband’s life but two lives. Mine.”

Perez, Harshman and several other survivors were honored with survivor medals.

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