A dancer receives new legs after surviving tragedy - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

A dancer receives new legs and new dreams after surviving tragedy

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On May 12, 2008, one of the deadliest earthquakes in history rocked Sichuan, China, with a magnitude of 9.2.  Rescuers forcibly yanked a young woman from the rubble after she was trapped there for 26 hours with her legs crushed below the knee.  This tragedy in China produced a national treasure, thanks in part to some people right here in Lubbock, who started that dream.

"The roof top broke in half, and we were trapped in the middle."  "I couldn't hear my daughter crying, but my mother-in-law talked to me for nearly 10 hours." 

She watched her baby die first, and then her mother -in- law as they waited to be rescued.  All 47 people in the building were killed.  Liao Zhi , or Jollie, was the only survivor:  A mother without her only child; a dance teacher without both her legs.   Two months later, Jollie was ready to pursue her dream.

"All my motivation comes from wanting to be the mother my daughter would be proud of."  Jollie told KCBD that she practiced with her amputated limbs.  At first she practiced on her hospital bed, and then later, she was lifted onto a giant drum where she created the drum dance.  Audiences loved her determination, and her story of faith.  

Randy Gallaway of Lubbock heard about Jollie, and identified with her struggles.  "Forty-five years ago, I lost my right arm and left hand in an electrical accident."  

Today, Randy is one of the founders of "Partners in Development Worldwide" It's a Christian charity, which provides disaster relief to China and other countries.  This time, he partnered with Lubbock Artificial Limb, which offered to build and donate legs for Jollie.

Jason Phillips, from Lubbock Artificial Limb, said that this was the first bi-lateral below the knee.  "I've heard she's already doing the splits. I'm anxious to see that."

Now that Jollie is very comfortable in her new legs, she was anxious to show us what she can do. These artificial legs have restored her confidence, renewed her dream, and already danced her story of suffering and triumph all over the world.

"So the reason I'm here is to say thank you to all those people who've helped me along the way."

Jollie says that she is thankful for another gift since the tragedy.  "I really like what it says in the Bible."  Since becoming a Christian two years ago, she has read the entire bible, and re-read her favorite scriptures countless times.  

She takes her performance to a new level, and she says the Bible has given her the courage to move forward, for her daughter's sake.  "Always the hope that I'll meet up with my daughter again in Heaven." "She's an angel."

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