It takes a special kind of person to turn tragedy around. A year ago Eugene Han was being treated for gunshot wounds and had to receive physiotherapy. Today he’s running and has recently got married.
Eugene was on a date with Kristin Davis on July 20th 2012, at a midnight screening of the latest Batman film, when the couple were thrust into a fight or flight situation. This was the now infamous Aurora movie theatre in Colorado, USA, that was attacked by James Eagan Holmes.
When the gunfire started, Eugene heroically pulled Kristin to the ground, shielding her from the bullets.
‘Next thing I know,’ explained Kristin, ‘he’s pulling me out of my seat and telling me “Don’t move. Just stay still. Whatever you do don’t move”‘.
Eugene suffered two gunshots – one in the hip, the other in the knee – but when a chance to escape revealed itself, it was time to take flight. He helped Kristin and their friends to an exit, where they hid until the horror had subsided.
Next came the fight. Eugene was treated in hospital and received physiotherapy. Kristin believes his recovery proves that ‘bad things happen, but people can keep going’.
For Eugene this fight gave him a fresh perspective of things and spurred him on to seize the day and look towards the future:
‘We were still dating and I was planning on proposing even before [the shooting] but I never had the chance. When the theatre shooting happened, that’s when I was like, I really need to do this because you don’t know what’s going to happen after tomorrow’
He proposed earlier this year and after some deliberation Eugene and Kristin decided on marrying on the anniversary of the shooting.
‘I was kind of uncomfortable about the idea because I didn’t think it was okay to take a bad day and turn it into a good day, so I had to really think about it,’ reasoned Kristin. But after contemplating what this date would mean a year from now, she recalled saying:
‘I think it would be a good date to have our wedding. That way we can make good memories and start a new chapter of our lives rather than allowing this memory from a year ago to stick with us every single year’
Eugene and Kristin married on the 20th July this year. At the ceremony they paused to remember all the victims of the shooting, honouring them on their special day.