On October 1st, 2017, a shooter opened fire at a music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fifty-eight innocent people lost their lives, and more than 800 people were injured. And while it was a devastating tragedy, there were also many cases of people helping one another throughout the chaos — reminding us that there’s light even in the darkest of times. One of those brave sources of light was Sue Ann Cornwell, a 52-year-old festival-goer who shielded stranger Miriam Lujan, who was seven months pregnant, during the gunfire. Miraculously, both survived unharmed. Cornwell reportedly gave Lujan her backpack to cover her stomach, and then proceeded to physically shield her with her own body.
While they didn’t exchange information at the time, they managed to connect several months later via the internet.
Lujan wanted to meet Cornwell once again and introduce her to her son, Xander, so that Cornwell could see the little boy she helped save. The three reunited at the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden, which Cornwell often visits to honor her friend Denise Burditis, who didn’t survive the attack. Burditis, according to a GoFundMe, was a mother of two and grandmother of four (with another grandchild on the way who she didn’t get to meet).
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cornwell and Lujan reconnected through a Facebook group specifically designed to help survivors of the shooting reconnect. Lujan hoped to find Cornwell’s photo among the many members, and luckily, she did. The last time they saw each other they were escaping through a fence.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal noted that at the time of the meet-up, Cornwell brought along toys and books for Xander.
We’ll always be thankful for heroes like Cornwell, a living reminder that good exists in the world. And we have a feeling that she, Lujan, and little Xander will have a lifelong bond.