In this interview, Raissa shares the inspiring story of how she didn’t let the loss of her legs stop her from living life to the fullest.
Before the tragic incident, who was Raissa Laurel?
Before the bombing incident, I was just a simple girl – a simple student who wanted to change the world. I aspired to be a lawyer because I want to have a positive impact on society.
Can you describe what happened during the bombing?
The bombing happened on September 26, 2010. It was the last day of the 2010 Bar Exams. We were waiting for our friends who took the test. And then all of a sudden, at exactly 5 pm, something exploded – a hand grenade according to the police report.
I remember I was thrown to the ground. When I looked down, my legs were mangled, and there was a huge commotion in the crowd. Then, I had a vision from God. I was entering a courtroom in a wheelchair. Right then, I believed that it was God’s way of telling me that I wouldn’t be able to walk again using my own feet.
After the blast, Raissa shared that her parents had to make a hard decision…
We were brought to the hospital, and because my limbs were crushed, the doctors feared that infection would set in. It was a matter of life and death, so my parents allowed the doctors to amputate both of my limbs.
The doctors even told my parents that I only had a 50% chance of survival. Later on, I learned that it wasn’t exactly true – that time, my survival rate was only 20%.
Did you need more surgeries after the amputation? What were those surgeries for?
When the doctors amputated my limbs, they didn’t close the wound right away since they needed to check if there would be an infection.
In case there’s an infection, the doctors may need to amputate again. I already had a below-the-knee amputation, so a cut would mean that they would need to amputate above the knee.
Thankfully, they found nothing wrong with my wound, so after resting for just a day, I had to undergo another surgery. The purpose of that operation was to close the amputation wound.
On the 29th, they allowed me to stay in a regular room. But, my wound wouldn’t close on its own. So, after around 2 weeks, I had skin graft surgery. The doctors took some skin from my thigh and used it to close my amputation wound.