What happened Sunday night in Las Vegas was beyond horrific. It's the kind of catastrophe that causes one to question bringing children into this crazy world. The only tiny glimmer of hope from this situation are the personal stories of heroism that have begun to surface; the good that occurs simultaneously with the evil. It doesn't make any of it OK, but it does demonstrate that we are stronger than those who seek to tear us down.
One story that deeply touched my heart involved strangers who came to the aid of a mother and daughter. The pair had been attending a series of concerts to commemorate the young girl's completion of a year of grueling chemotherapy to treat her Ewing's Sarcoma; a cancer that occurs in and around the bones.
Mom Kelley Huff described the event in a Facebook post that is quickly going viral with over 7.2K likes. She begins by saying that she "honestly did not want to post anything" about her experience on Sunday night at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, but that she felt strongly that she needed to "share the good" from their weekend at the event.
Huff's daughter, Cassidy, had hoped to attend the concert the year prior; but it was already sold out. So, Huff purchased tickets for the event this year for Cassidy's birthday. As the concert series approached, Huff admitted to being worried that her daughter may not have the strength to attend because she had completed a chemotherapy session just five weeks before.
Huff explained the weekend was "crowded" with "good, great, awesome people." She noted how many strangers offered kind words and gestures to her and her daughter.
"I am so thankful for every concert goer, perfect strangers, who came up to Cassidy and gave her a high-five, or a fist bump, or a hug, offered words of encouragement or shared their stories of a loved one who is fighting or fought cancer." Huff said. It was so heartwarming to feel the love from people we didn't even know and it made me so happy."
It was a fun-filled event full of happy people, many celebrating different occasions - a wedding anniversary, a birthday, and for Cassidy - a completion to a difficult year battling cancer.
"I reflected on the last year and how far we had come and how happy my daughter was," Huff described, adding that she was savoring the moment and was grateful to have her daughter standing next to her.
Cassidy was even asked to dance by a "shirtless cowboy," who told her "I want to dance with you ... just follow my steps." Huff described how he "shuffled his feet a bit, twirled her around, dipped her and set her down leaving her with a big kiss on the top of her bald head." And says her daughter wore the "biggest smile."
However, the mood quickly changed Sunday night the moment that shots were fired. The first thing Huff did was call her husband who advised them to "run as fast" as they could and to "not stay down." Huff shifted into mothering mode as she and her daughter ran. Heartbreakingly, Cassidy's frail body was not able to run far and she collapsed behind a car.
"Before I could even try to think what to do next," Huff explained, "an off-duty LAPD officer scooped her up in his arms and said to keep running." It was then that the officer's girlfriend took Cassidy's mother by the hand and ran with her.
A few minutes later, the group took cover behind another big truck when a retired Long Beach police officer stepped up to assist.
"(He) told us to keep moving and his daughter, who is also a Long Beach police officer, put Cassidy on her back and ran," Huff described in her post.
The Long Beach officer then told his wife to take the two women in their car and get them home and come back for him later. An incredible and selfless act from a man who was undoubtedly just as desperate as everyone else to escape.
Huff says that the shooting began around 10 PM and that by 11:15 PM they were back to their home in Henderson, NV.
Huff does not believe that their escape was a coincidence and feels that it was orchestrated too perfectly "to not have God's hand in it."
Huff ends her post with this declaration of thanks to the many kind strangers that helped to ultimately save their lives.
We can only hope that those who helped these women and many others will know that they have the support of a grateful nation behind them; they are the good that will always outshine the bad.
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