Paralyzed by bullets, Peoria teen fights for mobility

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(HOI) — A local teen may never walk again, showing the true consequences of Peoria’s gun violence.

At just 19 years old, Destiny Floyd is learning how to get in and out of a wheelchair on her own. She hopes her story will urge people in the river city to put down the weapons.

Floyd was shot in the back July 19 while visiting a memorial for Luis Cruz, a friend of hers who was shot and killed on that same date in 2018.

No arrests have been made in the shooting that left her paralyzed.

While walking with some friends near South Blaine in Peoria, they heard shots go off and immediately got back in their car. For Floyd, that car didn’t protect her from the bullet that would go through the seat and her back, severing her spine.

“At that point, my whole body felt paralyzed. I felt like I couldn’t move my whole entire body. So, I started to lean over and almost fall out of the car. I gained control of my upper body and I shut the door quickly,” Floyd said.

She said no one realized she was shot until they pulled away and she mustered the strength to say it. She couldn’t move below her body below the belly button and she had broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

Bullet fragments are still in her diaphragm.

“I started to panic. I was crying. I was holding my friend’s hand. I was telling them to pray for me. I was telling them, ‘Please, don’t let me die,'” Floyd said.

Floyd said doctors told her the chances of her walking again are very low.

“I know what I felt. I knew what happened. Them telling me, that’s different, that’s confirmation — You won’t walk again.”

Despite a heartbreaking diagnosis, she said she didn’t want this to stop her from living her life after two weeks at OSF St. Francis Medical Center. She has since transferred to Shirley Ryan Ability Lab at Chicago.

Floyd is at her first week of therapy at the No. 1 ranked rehabilitation hospital in the country.

“I have my bad days. I have my days where I lose hope, but that’s not going to get me anywhere. You know, if I’m negative 24-7, that’s not going to help me walk. If I’m positive, and I still don’t walk, at least I have a good attitude,” she said.

A fundraiser is being held next month to help with her medical expenses.

  • Pizza Ranch in Peoria, 4114 N. Brandywine Dr.
  • 5-8 p.m.
  • Sept. 2 
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