On a foggy morning last month, nine-year-old Anaiah Rucker and her five-year-old sister Camry Harden decided to cross a street near their Madison, Ga. home to catch a school bus.
It was Rucker who spotted the large pick-up truck swiftly approaching. She had a split second to react, and she chose to shield her sister.
“If she got hit and I didn’t, I wouldn’t have nobody beside me,” Rucker told Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA.
The courageous decision cost Rucker a leg and a kidney, and also resulted in a broken neck, a damaged spleen, and a month-long recovery at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
But her bravery didn’t go unnoticed, according to local news reports. After a police-escorted ride from the hospital to her home a few weeks ago, she was warmly greeted by thousands of cheering teachers, classmates, supporters and one appreciative kid sister.
“My sister shielded me so I won’t get hit and get my leg cut off like her,” Harden told the TV station. “She’s a great hero.”
Rucker still must take several trips back to Atlanta for rehabilitation and a prosthesis.
“I don’t care if I get hurt or sick because of her,” Rucker said of her sister. “I love her. I didn’t want her to be the one that had to face all these injuries.”
Officials at a local Home Depot said they will build an outside ramp and renovate the family’s home to help aid Rucker’s mobility, according to AOL News.
Well-wishers may donate to the family through the Anaiah Rucker fund at the United Bank of Madison.
After an investigation, police officials found that the truck driver was not at fault.