Kelley Pettit Huff has had a rough year — punctuated by a terrifying few days.
She’s been there as her daughter, Cassidy, has gone through chemo treatments for Ewing’s sarcoma. While her whole family supported their beautiful little girl, Kelley decided to buy tickets to the Route 91 Harvest festival as a special surprise.
At first, Kelley wasn’t sure if her daughter’s health would allow the trip, but Cassidy pulled through and, five weeks after finishing chemo, the mom-daughter duo took off for Las Vegas.
Cassidy was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma last year and has been battling the cancer ever since.
Tickets to the country music festival were a welcome motivation to push through — and ultimately, celebration after wrapping up her last chemo session.
Kelley shared a post about the fateful night, and her real, emotional, and beautiful words are touching thousands of people:
”I’m really struggling and honestly did not want to post anything about our experience on Sunday night at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, but I strongly feel I need to share the good from our weekend at the event. I don’t know how else to reach out to the strangers who impacted our lives.
Cassidy wanted to go last year and by the time she mentioned it, it was sold out. So, for her birthday this year and as something to look forward to for her as she went through a grueling year of chemo, I bought tickets back in April for her and me to attend. We were worried she would not be able to go as it was so close to her last treatment. But, she gained enough strength and 5 weeks post chemo we went!
I am so thankful for great friends, Kyle and April Curish-Arndt, Glenn and Lorraine Rockwell and Robert Honea who watched over us and helped us navigate the busy festival. It was so crowded. I am so thankful for every concert goer, perfect strangers, who came up to Cassidy and gave her a high-five, or a fist bump, or a hug, offered words of encouragement or shared their stories of a loved one who is fighting or fought cancer. It was so heartwarming to feel the love from people we didn’t even know and it made me so happy.
I reflected on the last year and how far we had come and how happy my daughter was and I savored that moment having her alive and standing next to me at a fun event. I am so thankful for that unknown, shirtless cowboy who came up to Cassidy and said, “I want to dance with you…just follow my steps.” He shuffled his feet a bit, twirled her around, dipped her and set her down leaving her with a big kiss on the top of her bald head. She had the biggest smile. It brought her joy.
”Good, great, awesome people were at that festival. By Sunday night, Cassidy was tired! Even I was tired of three days of concerts and fun. So, we sat in the back in the chairs, rather than standing up near the stage as we had the nights before, and just enjoyed watching the people and looking at the beautiful scenery surrounding us. I was thinking to myself, “what an awesome place to be right now.” So many happy, smiling and peaceful people gathered in one place.
We all know that changed very quickly.
I am beyond thankful for a knowledgeable husband (I called him as soon as I began hearing shots fired) for telling me to run as fast as we can and not stay down and who stayed on the phone with me urging me to keep running as far away as we can. I am so sorry he felt so helpless on the other end of the phone as he heard the shots and everybody screaming.
To avoid being trampled, I practically picked Cassidy up and threw her through a pretzel stand or some sort of serving equipment and crawled through behind her and we ran as fast as we could.
Just as we crossed the street, Cassidy collapsed behind a car, her frail body could not go anymore. Before I could even try to think what to do next, an off-duty LAPD officer scooped her up in his arms and said to keep running, we can’t stay here. His sweet girlfriend grabbed my hand and pulled me along. A few minutes later, we took cover behind another big truck when a retired Long Beach police officer told us to keep moving and his daughter, who is also a Long Beach police officer, put Cassidy on her back and ran. He told his wife to take us to their car and get us home and come back for him later. What a selfless thing to do. We ran into the MGM parking garage and left before the streets were locked down. We were home by 11:15 p.m. This all started around 10:00 p.m. Amazing.
As my husband has said, this was no coincidence. Our escape was too perfectly orchestrated to not have had God’s hand in it. For whatever reason, it was not our turn to go that night. I do feel guilt and physical pain for those that did not make it out and those that were injured and for everyone who had to experience the terror of that night. I wonder what happened to all of those amazing people who acknowledged my daughter and her fight against cancer. I do not understand why this happened nor can I even comprehend it. It angers me. But, though I cannot understand, I can have peace and I am working on that. Cassidy is working on that too. I will pray continually for all those affected by this tragedy. Healing will take time.
BUT I MUST THANK EACH PERSON WHO ASSISTED US SUNDAY NIGHT AND GOT US SAFELY HOME TO MY HUSBAND AND MY OTHER THREE LITTLE GIRLS. I LOVE YOU LIKE I HAVE KNOWN YOU FOREVER AND I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU!!!!
What an inspiring post. Despite witnessing such tragedy, Cassidy and Kelley both know that healing will happen and that they will be at peace sometime in the future. Beautiful.
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