Anaiah Rucker waves to the crowd that greeted her return to the town of Madison
Thousands of students and admirers line the streets of Madison to welcome 9-year-old Anaiah Rucker.
MADISON, GA -- A courageous 9-year-old who lost her leg protecting her sister got a grand welcome home after her release from the hospital.
Thousands of classmates, teachers, and admirers lined the streets of Madison to greet Anaiah Rucker, who spent over a month at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
Anaiah was critically injured when she was hit by a pickup truck while crossing the street with her 5-year-old sister, Camry Harden. Anaiah shielded Camry from the truck, suffering injuries that cost led to the amputation of her left leg from the knee down, and the removal of one kidney.
But little sis is still here.
"If she got hit and I didn't, I wouldn't have nobody beside me," said Anaiah. "
It was raining and foggy the morning Anaiah and her sister tried to cross the street near their Madison home to catch the bus. They didn't see the pickup truck approaching until it was too late.
Anaiah had an instant to act, protecting her sister from the impact.
"I don't care if I get hurt or sick because of her," said Anaiah. "I love her. I didn't want her to be the one that had to face all these injuries."
Camry, a kindergarten student at Madison Primary School, was part of the cheering crowd that welcomed Anaiah back home.
"My sister shielded me so I won't get hit and get my leg cut off like her," said Camry. "She's a great hero."
The ride home, which included a police escort, paused just long enough for a hug and kiss from the bus driver who performed CPR on Anaiah immediately after the accident.
"I knew when she started breathing she was going to make it," said Loretta Berryman. "God had better things for her to do."
Anaiah's future will include trips back to Atlanta for a prosthesis and rehabilitation.
Donations to help the family can be made to the Anaiah Rucker fund at the United Bank of Madison.