SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Megan Bull, a survivor of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting and the founder of nonprofit, the Reclaim Foundation, was announced Tuesday as the winner of KRON4’s 2022 Remarkable Women initiative.

While receiving the honor, Bull reflected on the day that impacted her life.

“I went to UC Davis, just graduated college, had decided to start my career and moved to San Francisco and going to the Garlic Festival felt like a great start to my adult life,” she said.

Then the shooting began.

“My partner and I started running. We heard about 30 more shots going off,” she said. “Everything around us was chaos. We were right in the section where the shooter was, so you can imagine the visuals were not great.”

The two jumped into a vendor’s car and were driven to safety. Although they were unharmed physically, it didn’t take long for Bull to start feeling the symptoms of PTSD. 

“Any loud noises, strangers, anything would bring back quite a bit of flashbacks,” she said. “The day after, I didn’t leave my bed. Even now, it makes me emotional thinking of how low of a point that was. I wasn’t sure how long I could even continue.”

Although she was not physically hurt that day, it wasn’t long before trauma set in.

“I wasn’t fine,” she said. “And I went home and go ‘what do I do now? How do I cope with everything I just saw and lived through?’ You can’t just turn on Netflix.”

Struggling to find solid resources for trauma survivors, she started going to therapy.

But just as Bull was gaining a semblance of normalcy, she survived another kind of tragedy, a hit and run crash.

“It broke my back in two places and then pushed my vertebrae toward my nerves so I needed four screws and two rods to hold my back together,” she recalled.

After undergoing spinal surgery, she learned how to walk and get her strength back up, becoming even more inspired to help others.

“Having these awful things happen, I kept thinking, I have lived through the worst now. How can I move forward? There is so much I want to do in life. I don’t want to let these two things limit me from doing it. It reframed life,” she said.

Now, more than two and a half years later, Bull is using the trauma she experienced that day to help others through her nonprofit. Bull’s experience is particularly poignant in light of Sunday’s shooting in Sacramento.

“Trauma can feel really isolating and with the most recent shootings in Dallas, Texas, in Sacramento, California, I just want reach out to your loved ones, reach out to your friends, support one another,” Bull said. “If you are impacted, whether you’re there that day or you’re just a community member, talk to people.”

As the 2022 Remarkable Women winner, Bull received a $1,000 check to benefit her nonprofit. She hopes her story can be an inspiration to others who have experienced trauma.

“When I tell my story now for the people watching and the people hearing this story that are also finding strength in it, I hope that someone finding resiliency and hearing my story is going ‘I can survive this too, I can reclaim my life.'”

Bull also encourages people to log on to Reclaim Foundation where there are resources available for those who need help.