SAN ANTONIO - For the past 10 years, University Hospital has held a gala to honor a "medical miracle," or a person who has beaten the odds by overcome adversity. A medical miracle is considered an inspiration to others who face similar life challenges.
As the hospital prepares to celebrate "A Decade of Triumph," Wednesday night and announce this year's medical miracle, it will also take a moment to honor all the past miracles, including the very first one honored who continues to inspire today, Jane Swanson.
"They saved my life. Let's Start with that." Swanson said.
Swanson was shot in the head by a co-worker at their Century 21 office on July 23, 2013. She was one of three employees shot, and the only survivor. She was airlifted to University Hospital where she received lifesaving treatment.
"Yes it was one horrible day where two people, three people including the shooter, tragically died. But I survived and there was a reason to continue, and I have." Jane said.
Swanson credits her remarkable recovery with the wonderful care she received at University Hospital, a strong faith in God, the support of her family and a passion she's held since she was a child.
"Going back to painting was only going back to normalcy, and things I love. So that was a true healing for me." Swanson said.
Jane has painted most of her life, even studied art in school and taught others. Picking up a paintbrush became an integral part of her healing process. She wanted to give back to University Hospital for all they did to save her life. So, she painted a series of three paintings that now hang in the hospital hall, along with an explanation of her survival story and the inspiration behind the paintings.
Each brush stroke tells a tale. It took Swanson one year to paint them, but they were a lifetime in the making.
"I'm 53 years old, everything that is in this painting came from me. This is my life in this painting. This is my spirit in this painting. This is my survival story."
The first painting consist of flowers just barely budding. The second painting shows sunshine and wisps of rain falling on them as they begin to bloom. The third painting is of the flowers, fully bloomed, vibrant and colorful, having reached their full potential.
"These are symbolic of life's journey. In order to fully bloom, you have to turn your face towards God and receive his nourishment and be blessed by him. Only after you have gone through the growing process can you be healed." Swanson said.
Because her work represents the process of life and healing, she felt it only right to have them on display at University Hospital, where other patients who are just beginning their journey can draw inspiration from her struggles.
"To have it be used in a way that it can truly affect other people is a huge blessing and a gift." Swanson said.
Swanson is considered the hospital's first medical miracle , but now all who follow her can find an infinite amount of inspiration in her beautiful works of art. But for Swanson, she feels she has been given much more than her paintings can give.
"The people we have touched, inspired and helped is such a blessing to me. It's amazing the opportunities we have been extended beyond that one day of horror, and how God has blessed us through this journey." Swanson said.
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