A woman who helped save a man’s life during the Las Vegas massacre by stuffing a bandana in his gunshot wound has finally been reunited with him.
Sheri Sletten is the woman from an iconic photo taken during the Las Vegas massacre. In it, she sits clutching a bloody bandana with a stretcher and fire truck seen in the background. Afterwards, she went on a quest to find the man whose blood was on that bandana, the man who she hoped had survived, Los Angeles Times reported.
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Sletten, 36-years-old, was noticeably distant after coming home from the music festival that turned into a massacre on Oct. 1. Stephen Paddock killed 58 people that night, and then killed himself. He injured 546 people, but Sletten was focused on one of those in particular. She wanted to know what happened to the man she helped after he was taken away. She didn’t know where he was and if she could see him again.
She became obsessed with finding him.
In those life changing moments Sletten held the man in her arms as she applied pressure to his back, trying to stop the blood. She pressed her cheek to his face to make sure he was alive.
“Can you feel this?” she asked.
“Yes,” he whispered.
“Then that means you’re alive,” she said.
The man was taken away on a maintenance cart. Sletten rushed to help a few others and left the tragic night unharmed physically, but her mental recovery was slow. Her husband and four children noticed how she stayed in bed and watched television all day.
She searched nonstop for a face that looked like the man she hoped she saved on the TV news. She tried to call Las Vegas hospitals. She searched Facebook. She searched lists of survivors.
She didn’t find him.
“Finding him was the biggest thing holding her back,” said Daniel Sletten, Sheri’s husband.
Sheri Sletten returned to an animal hospital where she works as a receptionist, but she wasn’t the same. Coworkers had to compensate for the work she now seemed unable to do.
“It was like her whole world had been turned upside down,” said Melissa Brand, a veterinary technician. “She was quiet and seemed overwhelmed. She was emotional and had this heavy weight on her.”
Relief finally came when Sletten read a story that mentioned a man with the same injury she cared for that night. His name was in the story. She searched for leads and found his girlfriend and sister online.
When she contacted them they remembered her from the concert. They let her know that the man she was looking for, Matt Lewan, had been taken to three hospitals where he had several surgeries. The bullet couldn’t be removed.
Soon Sletten was in direct contact with Lewan. They tried to meet, but more surgeries came up. When Lewan was finally done with them, at least the ones that he needed right away, they decided to meet at his parents’ home.
After first embracing his sister, Sletten was soon together again with the man she spent so much time searching for.
The worried woman in the iconic photo was finally able to resolve the issue written into her face, as if frozen in time.