Imagine this: your former uncle bursts into your home on a rampage in search of his ex-wife; your aunt. Your family refuses to tell him where he can find her, so he ties up your mother, father, two sisters, two brothers and you – and then shoots you each in the head, execution-style.
You're the only one who survives. Instead of panicking, you play dead until he's safely out of your home, then call 911 to warn police that your relatives are in danger.
This isn't the plot of a Hollywood horror movie – it actually happened to 15-year-old Cassidy Stay this past Wednesday. She suffered a skull fracture after the bullet grazed her head, but was released from the hospital Friday.
As if her plight wasn't heroic enough: the day after she was released from the hospital she stood up in front of 400 people from her town of Spring, Texas – along with those family members whose lives she saved with her presence of mind – to celebrate her parents Katie and Stephen, 14-year-old brother Bryan, 9-year-old sister Emily, 7-year-old sister Rebecca and 4-year-old brother Zach.
Within her inspirational speech, Stay quoted "Harry Potter," saying, "In 'The Prisoner of Azkaban,' Dumbledore says, 'Happiness can be found even in the darkest times if one only remembers to turn on the light.'" She also bravely noted that her family is in a much better place and said, "I'll be able to see them again one day." You can see the full video here.
Stay's grandfather Robert Lyons also spoke, saying, "Without her courage and quick thinking, we might be mourning the deaths of 20 – yes, I said 20, people today, including myself and nearly all of our children and grandchildren." Strong's uncle Ronald Haskell was apprehended by authorities after a stand-off in front of Cassidy's grandparents house, and has been charged with capital murder.
We're completely in awe of Cassidy's heroism and bravery – she's an inspiration and a beacon of strength and positivity. If you'd like to donate money for the Strong family's final expenses and for Cassidy's medical bills, visit the Cassidy Stay Fund website.