Reporting Suzanne Le Mignot
Don't Miss This
CHICAGO (CBS) – Graduation is a milestone for teens, but for Tacarra Swain it’s a new beginning on her journey to giving back.
The makeup and hair are done. The nails — polished to perfection. Taccara prepares for a day many thought she would never see: her graduation from Percy L. Julian High School.
“I’m just happy that I’m here, walking across the stage, with heels on,” she says.
In August 2009, during a drive-by shooting, gunfire erupted in front of Taccara’s home near 110th and Normal. She ran to shield her then-2-year-old cousin, Malaysia, from the bullets.
“I remember going outside and hearing gunshots and getting shot,” she says. “I thought about her first because she was the youngest.”
The teen, hailed as a hero for her selfless act, was hit three times. Taccara was shot through the head, scalp and under her left eye. She was in a coma for 30 days. Doctors said she would never hear, see, talk or walk again.
“The Lord just blessed us with a miracle,” grand uncle Hubert C. Jackson Jr. says.
Enduring months of rehab, Taccara learned how to speak, walk, run and even think again. She now wants to go to college, to become a registered nurse to honor those who helped her recover and see her big day.
“I think someone saved my life, so I want to save other peoples’,” she says.
As for the lesson others can learn from her experience, Taccara says: “There’s hope, so don’t give up.”
Taccara says she is grateful to the numerous people who prayed for her recovery and sent cards and letters.
The person who shot her remains at large.