LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– The five-year anniversary of 1 October is approaching and the threads of the tragedy that ultimately took 60 lives have stretched everywhere. However, those threads have tied each other together in unexpected places.
Tennille Pereira is used to the stories of trauma, loss, grief, and pain. She runs the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center, a place of healing and support dedicated to serving as a resource and referral center for residents, visitors, and responders affected by 1 October.
“You carry the stories with you,” said Pereira. “The baggage that comes along with what I do. It can be a very heavy weight.”
So Pereira and her children run and have become three of the fastest young runners in Las Vegas. They say that running is where they process things and self-reflect.
“They like to discuss who’s fastest, who can beat who,” said Pereira.
Christine Janette is the family’s coach since Pereira’s daughter Emily was in the 6th grade. She helps push her daughter to go even faster.
“I just try to be their biggest cheerleader,” said Janette.
Five years ago Pereira learned her children’s coach was one of the thousands with her own story.
“I shared the story of my husband and I being survivors of that night and what we went through,” said Janette.
Pereira discovered that Janette was her child’s teacher at Cadwallader Middle School.
“She has so many stories. Now I knew I has a connection,” said Janette.
Janette and her husband were among the thousands who escaped the 1 October shooting in 2017.
Janette says she is trying to not let what happened to define who she is. Janette is the driving force begin the Angel Wings Project at Cadwallader Middle School.
“My student? I tell them all the time, they help me heal,” said Janette.
The simple act of running is also helping her heal, one foot in front of the other.
“That night, we didn’t have a chance to decide whether or not we were going to run. This is her way of taking her power back,” said Pereira.
At the Vegas Strong 5K in 2021, Pereira and her children were among the fastest, and Janette was there cheering them on.
“As I crossed that line, she put the medal on me and things came full circle,” said Pereira.
As Janette marks 5 years since the night that changed her life, she is determined not to run from the emotions anymore. She has made a new finish line, the Downtown Healing Garden, a place she’s never been before.
“I just don’t quite know why I haven’t been down. This year is going to be my year, it has to be,” said Janette.
The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center is open this week, as it is every week to help anyone who may need to talk. You can find resources on the website here.