Thirty years ago, Lisa Garrett, 53, was taking her son home from school when her life took a drastic turn.
“A gang was coming down the street and they just screamed out ‘West Side!’” Garrett said.
Then shots rang out and Garrett shielded her then 7-year-old son to keep him safe.
“And then a bullet went in the left side of my temple,” she said. “And the bullet’s still in my head.”
Garrett was a victim of a drive-by shooting that left her blind for 30 years, but with the help of Dr. Lawrence T. Goodwin, her eyesight was restored.
It took eight surgical procedures to get her vision back, but Garrett regained eyesight in October 2015.
“She saw our daughter and our grandson and she was so happy,” said Roland Stallworth, Garrett’s husband. “[Garrett] was crying; it was beautiful. Our son, he was so happy.”
After the incident, Garrett was in a coma for six months. She had to learn how to walk, talk, and eat all over again. However, the bullet still gave her troubles after six surgeries on her left eye; sunshine and other forms of light would bother her.
“Then the bullet fragment started acting up again, which caused glaucoma, cataracts, on the right side,” Garrett said.
Garrett had a history with seizures prior to the shooting. After, she suffered from petit mal and grand mal seizures.
After the incident, Garrett moved to Hawthorne and took up exercising at a senior citizen home.
“I would lick my fingers and I would hold my hand up in the air,” Garrett said. “How the wind would blow and that’s where I would walk, towards the wind.”
Garrett had her last eye surgery in October after having eye surgeries in March and April. Now, she has to wear glasses because she is nearsighted and farsighted. Along with taking medicine for her seizures, Garrett has to use eye drops.
Garrett’s husband Roland Stallworth has supported her throughout her years of blindness, helping her with simple tasks that she was unable to do.
“My husband was helping me eat, feeding me, washing me up, clothing me, everything,” Garrett said. “He’s a very nice person to stick by me,”
A few days after her last surgery, Garrett went to the Taste of Soul. While sitting in the audience at one of the stages, Garrett was called to come on stage for a dance competition.
“They took me up on the stage and they did a thing for a dance contest and I won,” Garrett said.
Garrett has been adjusting well since she regained her eyesight, able to do certain tasks for herself according to Stallworth.
“She puts on her own makeup on and all that,” said Stallworth. “She wants to get in the kitchen and cook.”