Thousands of dollars from well-wishers have begun to pour in for a young woman who has made a miracle recovery after being shot multiple times in a Colorado movie theater last Friday.
Petra Anderson, 22, was at the midnight premiere of 'The Dark Knight Rises' in Aurora, Colo., when she was shot four times by a gunman who had opened fire in the crowded theater, the Associated Press reports.
Three shotgun pellets hit Anderson's arm and another went through her nose -- riding up the back of her cranium and hitting the back of her skull.
"Her injuries were severe, and her condition was critical…The doctors prior to surgery were concerned because so much of the brain had been traversed by the bullet," Anderson's pastor, Brad Strait, wrote in his blog.
Strait, who was in the hospital during the young woman's surgery, added that doctors were worried that Anderson's injuries could impair her speech, motor and cognitive abilities.
But incredibly, during the five-hour surgery, doctors soon found that Anderson's brain sustained very little damage and the pellet was removed cleanly.
According to Strait, Anderson was saved by a miracle birth "defect" that no one could have anticipated.
The doctor explains that Petra’s brain has had from birth a small “defect” in it. It is a tiny channel of fluid running through her skull…Only a CAT scan would catch it, and Petra would have never noticed it.
But in Petra’s case, the shotgun buck shot…enters her brain from the exact point of this defect. Like a marble through a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra’s nose through her brain. It turns slightly several times, and comes to rest at the rear of her brain. And in the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain.
Though still in the hospital, Anderson -- who has already started to speak and walk again -- is expected to make a full recovery.
"She could have lost all kinds of function (if) the bullet traversed her brain," her mother Kim Anderson told the Sacramento Bee. "I believe that she was not only protected by God, but that she was actually prepared for it."
To support the young woman and her family, the Hope Rises Relief Fund has started a campaign for the Andersons. So far, more than $32,000 has been raised.
Anderson's injury has come at a difficult time for the young woman's family. Her mother is battling terminal breast cancer and the cost of medical bills for both women has proven to be a daunting challenge.
Nevertheless, as her sister, Chloe, said in this promotional video for the fundraising campaign, the family has not lost hope -- thanks in large part to the support and encouragement they have received from people in their community and across the country.
"Our family has been shaken by the events of last Friday but we have not been broken," she said. "We're watching heroes appear everywhere we look."
Watch the video produced by the family below and donate to the Petra Anderson fund here. You can also check out our slideshow of heartwarming Twitter reactions to the tragedy.
Photo credit: Jacqueline Rocamora Photography
Correction: A previous version of this article inaccurately stated that Anderson had been shot with a bullet instead of a shotgun pellet.