When the unthinkable happened, one woman protected another’s growing belly.
When bullets flew at the Route 91 Harvest festival on October 1, 2017, the instincts of the concert goers took over as they sought cover. For Sue Ann Cornwell, her instincts called her to do something different in the chaos: use her own body to shield that of expectant mother Miriam Lujan.
“I don’t want my baby to die,” Lujan recalls saying as Cornwell and Cornwell’s sister protected her.
“Your baby’s not dying on my watch,” Cornwell assured her before helping her run to safety. The women then separated without exchanging names as Cornwell used her truck to transport injured people to the hospital.
Thanks to the power of social media, the women recently connected—and Lujan was able to introduce Cornwell to Xander, the healthy little boy who was born two months after that horrific night.
“Out of all the ugly, here's this child that survived,” says Cornwell in a video of their meeting that was taken by the Las Vegas Journal-Review. “One day his mom is going to have a story to tell him.”
Lujan agreed, adding she’s determined to pay it forward when raising Xander—and hopes he’ll feel the same way.
“I want him to remember the good moments. I want him to remember those people that did not make it and to remember that people will help strangers to survive,” Lujan says.
And although it was tragedy that brought them together, it’s the good in humanity that will forever bond Cornwell to Lujan and her son.
“Auntie Sue Ann's got you. You can cry all you want; we are just happy you're crying,” Cornwell tells baby Xander in the touching video, adding to Lujan, “I'm so glad you found me.”
That’s because when times seem dark, it’s people like Cornwell who are the reminders we all need of the light in the world. Now, Lujan hopes, her son will be one of those people, too. “And if anything were to happen similar to him like that, I hope he would be able to do the same.”