Orlando community finds hope after Pulse nightclub tragedy

ORLANDO, Florida  (WFLA) – For Kathryn Gauger, it was a day of hope and healing amidst grief. Monday represented for her a new sense of purpose and a new beginning.

As Kathy stood shoulder to shoulder with thousands in downtown Orlando Monday night, she received hug after hug after hug.  For this 24-year-old, it was more than a moment of healing, more than a sense of support.

For her, each hug was symbolic.  It confirmed her purpose in this world.

“You can’t really put into words what this is. I can feel it all the way in my toes,” she said through tears.

Her life, she tells us, was spared for one reason or year ago – to be here for others.

For Kathryn, June 12, 2016 will forever bring about powerful and chilling emotions. It was on this day she had plans to celebrate a friend’s birthday at Pulse nightclub.

Instead, she declined at the last minute and decided not to go. It would be a decision that would change the course of her life.

“It’s humbling, sobering, surreal. It doesn’t feel real, honestly.”

As the community came together at a prayer service at Lake Eola, there was an intense feeling of support and solidarity where those attending could feel the love in the air.

A moment in history born of cruelty and hate would ultimately be the story of kindness and compassion.

And, for Kathryn, this day means a new life.

“It’s incredible. Love will always trump hate,” she said.



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