Las Vegas shooting victim reconnects with woman who stayed by her side
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“These are to me stories that need to be told because it’s the ultimate sacrifice to me a human being can give, is to save another person at the risk of losing their life.”
An incredible meeting between two women who stayed by each other’s side during a horrific night took place Wednesday.
Rich Donnelly recounted his daughters’ experience in the Las Vegas concert massacre. Both of his daughters risked their lives to stay inside the chaos and help others, but it’s what has happened since that day that Donnelly says is truly a miracle.
“I still didn’t know that the lady beside her, a stranger was shot in the face--her name was Natalie," Donnelly said.
Natalie Grumet is the name Donnelly's daughter Leighanne didn’t know when she risked her life to save her.
“Your first reaction is to save yourself and that’s not what they did,” Donnelly said. “And I asked Leighanne what was going through your mind and she said ‘Dad, I was not going to leave her. If I did I would feel guilty the rest of my life that this lady may have died and I left her.’”
Both of Donnelly’s daughters--Leighanne and her sister Tiffany--helped strangers survive inside the chaos. Natalie knows how heroic it was.
"Not a lot of people would be brave enough to stayed if they could run, and they stayed,” Natalie said. “And his two daughters stayed and they helped people, and they are heroes."
Both knew once they were safe that they had to find the woman they helped to check in.
“That night whenever I got home, you know on Tuesday, I was just like you know what, I’m going to take a chance. I want to know that she’s okay since we got separated in the chaos toward the end,” Leighanne said.
Thanks to a post on Facebook, it only took 30 minutes for Natalie’s family to find her.
“Facebook is amazing and I will never say another bad word about Facebook because it would not have been possible without it," Leighanne said.
Wednesday the two women saw each other for the first time since the horrific shooting.
“For me that was the most emotional, just to be able to look in her eyes again, to see that she was okay and not to see the shock and panic on her eyes, just that she’s okay,” Leighanne said.
The incredible story influenced Leighanne and Tiffany’s father as well.
“It made me be a little more compassionate to the people I meet,” Donnelly said.
As for the two women….
“Her telling me that hearing my voice telling her that she was going to be okay is what helped her get through was pretty special to me,” Leighanne said.
To Natalie, she feels a special connection.
"Going through that with somebody, you just have this inexplicable bond - all the sudden you’re just connected for life,” Natalie said.
Natalie also said she wants Donnelly to know he raised two phenomenal women who are truly heroes.
Donnelly believes the two will be bonded for life, adding that Natalie is now part of his family and that they will continue to follow her recovery.