Yali Huang lost the life she once knew walking across the street. She was hit by a car and woke up weeks later with a traumatic brain injury. Some days are more difficult than others.
But during a moment of anguish, just days before Yali returns home to China, hope returns when Emporia State defensive tackle Justin Wilson walked into the room.
"I just wanted to give you this, because back before I came to school I lost everything and everybody helped me out," he said. "I thought it would be right to help you guys in your time of need."
Justin Wilson knows pain. His family lost everything when a wildfire spread to his home in Luther, Oklahoma last summer. The Emporia State community opened a fund to help him rebuild. Now Justin wants to share what's left with Yali. He gave her family a check for $1,030.
"It gives you hope and the confidence to go on," he said. "Push through the hard times because it's not always going to be easy right off the jump, but after a while with all the help and love and support, things just get easier."
Yali's dad, Reijie Huang, said that love gave us strength to continue and to stand with our own feet.
They are two students with lives a world apart, faced with separate tragedies.
"She's a Hornet, I'm a Hornet and at the end of the day we've just got to stick together with each other," Justin said.
A bond not communicated through words but shared through the universal language of a hug.
"We will remember all of you forever, you have changed our life," Reijie said.
Yali will travel with her mother and a nurse by air ambulance from Wichita to Toronto on Sunday. She will then board a commercial flight to Hong Kong.
Charges have not yet been filed against the driver who hit Yali. The Lyon County Attorney is currently reviewing the case.
The family has setup a fund at the Bank of America in Wichita that will stay open after they return to China. The fund currently has more than $24,000 in it to help with more than $1,000,000 in medical bills. Checks can be made out to Bixiang Huang and mailed to 120 N. Chelmsford Court, Wichita, KS 67230.