As it was for many Americans, October 1, 2017, was a sobering date for Mykenzie Lane and her boyfriend, Brandon Helmick. The couple of three years were listening to Jason Aldean at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas when a gunman, later identified as Stephen Paddock, opened fire, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds of others.
On Friday, however, the two were able to celebrate a more joyous occasion: their engagement.
Helmick, 21, proposed to Lane, 22, last week. The Mission Viejo man asked Lane to marry him using a “heart full of rose petals” on Laguna Beach, she told Fox News on Wednesday.
“I had some idea but I still cried my eyes out,” Lane, a California State student, said.
While an engagement is a special milestone for any couple, it holds a deeper significance for the California natives: Helmick protected Lane during the shooting.
Helmick, a baseball player at Saddleback College, threw his body over Lane after the first round of rapid-fire shots went off. The two then ran toward nearby storage units for shelter.
But moments later, Lane was shot. One of the gunman’s bullets hit the side of her left ankle, traveling through the front of her shin and then exiting out through her cowboy boot.
“From that point, he said we have to find a way to the hospital. I tried to walk but couldn’t, so he threw me on his back and carried me until we found an ambulance,” she said.
When the couple arrived at the ambulance, however, it had “people in it that needed much more help than me, so we proceeded to find an Uber which thankfully gave us a ride,” she said.
Lane said she and Helmick have “endless amounts of blessings to be thankful for every day because we’re still here.” Still, the incident has “impacted our lives in more ways than one,” she added.
“We don’t like to be apart for long periods of time, we stick together especially at night,” Lane, from Tustin, Calif., said.
But the country music-loving couple is moving forward. They’ve even set a date for their wedding: August 3.
“Our relationship has always meant the world to me,” said Lane. “But when someone sacrifices their life for you, how could you ever get more reassurance than that?”