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"We share bonds no one wants to share": Former Oxford student helps other mass shooting survivors

"We share bonds no one wants to share": Former Oxford student helps other mass shooting survivors
"We share bonds no one wants to share": Former Oxford student helps other mass shooting survivors 05:00

OXFORD, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - On the morning of November 30, 2021, Ella Klimowicz was simply a high school student. By that afternoon, she became a mass shooting survivor. 

Knowing the pain of surviving a mass shooting, Ella Klimowicz, an Oxford High School graduate, is comforting others in a way no one else can. CBS Detroit

"I was actually the last person in my class before they shut the door," Ella Klimowicz said. 

During the time she was barricaded inside her classroom, shots were fired that took four of her classmates' lives; 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 16-year-old Tate Myre, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and 17-year-old Justin Shilling. 

Less than six months later, Ella Klimowicz saw news unfold about another school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. A former student at the school killed 19 children and two teachers on May 24, 2022. 

"They're even younger than I am, so I can't even imagine. Their innocence was taken away way too early," she said. "We're part of this club that no one wanted to be a part of." 

At that moment, she felt it was her turn to drop everything and help Uvalde. She raised money to buy personalized stuffed animals, worry stones, ribbons in Uvalde's school colors and supplies to make hundreds of handwritten cards for every student, sibling and faculty member. 

The personalized Oxford Wildcat stuffed animals wear T-shirts that read, "Oxford loves you." 

One of the many stuffed animals and personalized cards given to the survivors of the Robb Elementary school shooting.  CBS Detroit

"I could never see her doing this two years ago. I'm super proud – sorry," said Ella's mother, Carrie Klimowicz, through tears. "I'm super proud of her. I know how hard it was for her to go back to school, and she didn't want to." 

With the help of other survivors and their families, Ella Klimowicz spent months committed to comforting Robb Elementary students on their first day back in the classroom – something she remembers was almost as anxiety-provoking as the day of the shooting itself. 

CBS News Detroit followed the Klimowicz family to Uvalde as Ella placed those items of comfort on each student's desk. She says comforting other survivors also helped with her healing. 

"I just want them to feel the love and know that they're not alone – that other people have been through this terrible thing and there's brighter days ahead for them." 

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