Local family fights to work through emotional scars left behind - KPTV - FOX 12

Local family fights to work through emotional scars left behind by mall shooting

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Vanessa Ogden escaped the Clackamas Town Center shooting unharmed, but the emotional scars left behind from that horrific day, have sent the mother of two into a state of silence.

Vanessa Ogden, then 7-months pregnant, was the manager at the Justice clothing store, inside of the mall.

When Jacob Roberts opened fire on Dec. 11, she guided her employees and customers to the back room of her store and barricaded them in.

For a tense hour, they all huddled together to wait things out, until police said it was safe to come out.

"I have people tell me how incredibly brave she was," says husband Doug Ogden. "I mean here is this 5'2" and 7-month pregnant woman trying to calm people down and make sense out of a chaotic situation."

But about a week later, Doug Ogden says he noticed a drastic change in his courageous pregnant wife.

"She began to deteriorate, she grew disconnected, lethargic and quiet and if you know my wife, you know that something just wasn't right."

Soon after, Vanessa Ogden stopped wanting to eat, or drink, so Doug Ogden took her to the hospital where doctors later diagnosed her with PTSD and sent her home.

Then, about a week later, she suffered upwards of 70 small strokes to her brain. That's when the young mother slipped into silence.

"I thought, how is she supposed to give birth in this condition, if she couldn't talk, or stand up, and she could only respond by noises," said Doug Ogden.

But, nurses assured Doug Ogden that her body would take over, and it did.

Vanessa Ogden was able to give birth naturally to baby Georgia, who was born into this world more than a month premature, but by all standards, healthy.

"It was really something incredible," said Doug Ogden.

Doctors can't say whether Vanessa Ogden's strokes were brought on from the stress of the shooting, but they aren't ruling it out either.

They said it could take anywhere from six to 12 months to know whether the damage she suffered from the strokes are permanent.

Doctors aren't sure Vanessa Ogden will ever make a full recovery, but her family is praying for a miracle.

"We want her to come back to our family and a life that was expecting her to come back, not one that is surprised that she came back," said Doug Ogden.

"We have to believe she will be OK, because there's no point in being negative or pointing fingers, I want my wife back, my girls, they want their mom back."

Doug Ogden has since had to take time off from his work at the Clackamas Red Robin to help his family get through this difficult time.

There's a Facebook group dedicated to help support the Ogden family called, "Vanessa Ogden Recovery."

A fundraiser to celebrate Vanessa Ogden's 29th birthday is also set for Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. at the Sellwood Public House in Portland.

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