Pulse survivor continues to heal, help others 5 years later

ORLANDO, Fla. — After being shot in the chest, Tiara Parker, her cousin and fiend were held hostage by the gunman inside a bathroom at Pulse nightclub for more than three hours.

Her cousin did not survive.

“I lost my best friend that night.” Parker said.

READ: Remembering Pulse: Officials release schedule of events to honor victims

And it’s been a long journey of healing ever since.

Parker lives in Philadelphia and tackled with Channel 9 about how she’s doing five years later.

“If you asked me this a few years ago, I’d be like I’m still trying to figure out life. I don’t know what’s going on,” Parker said. “Things are just too much but I’m getting through it. Now when you ask me that, I have such a clear view. It’s no longer jaded.”

READ: Exhibit marking 5 years since Pulse shooting open at Orange County Regional History Center

Parker said she worked through a lot of trauma to get to this point, and living in another state made it tough.

“In Orlando, I have never seen so many people come together so quickly, so fast,” . And when we came back to Philly, I felt that instant disconnect.”

Parker said she will always be attached to the tragedy at Pulse, but hopes people think of her as more than just a shooting survivor.

READ: Senate votes to make Pulse a national memorial

She’s now an activist against gun violence and for LGBTQ equality. She wants to change the world through her organization, Global Activist Awards.

“Our mission is to acknowledge those who are often unseen or unnoticed,” Parker said. “That’s our mission. Our goal is to make sure you are acknowledged and rewarded for all the hard work you do in your community.”

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.