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A Survivor of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting Shares His Pain: What Does It Mean To Be A Survivor?

Today, June 12th, marks the one year anniversary of the horrific shooting in the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Brandon J. Wolf survived the Pulse attack. He was even lucky enough to survive it without any physical injury. Yet Brandon poignantly shares what an ordeal has been set in motion by these moments of staring death in the face, and by the realization that his friends did not survive. Survivors struggle with the intrusive memories, the sights, the smells, the shouts they heard, and with mortifying emotions, including “survivors guilt”, however irrational, that they experience in the wake of their ordeal and in relation to the death of loved ones. The invisible wounds of trauma can persist for a very long time, and the struggle for survival takes place every day and every night in the life of people like Brandon. Despite and because of his ordeal, only weeks after the attack, Brandon J. Wolf and his friends launched The Dru Project, a nonprofit organization that sponsors Gay-Straight Alliances in public schools and helps send future leaders to college, and in August of 2016, Brandon joined the board of advisers for a political action committee dedicated to ending gun violence. Some people find the strength to turn their pain into a force that mobilizes them to do something to prevent others from suffering the same tragedies, to improve the world. This phenomenon has been termed in the literature “Post Traumatic Growth” and was expressed in Brandon’s words: “I wanted to do something to make the world a better place, and to use my own story of survival to inspire unity and courage”.

You can read more about Brandon’s story at

           Irit Felsen


  1. Hanna Wechsler says

    Very very thru!!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


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