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Dawn Staley helps woman who lost leg make walk at Gamecock game

Last September, Shawn Kiser lost her leg as a result of a boating accident. Since then, she and Dawn Staley have formed an inspiring relationship.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina legend has helped turn one Midlands mother's tragedy into hope and triumph. 

On September 21st, 2019, Shawn Kiser and her husband Stan Kiser were involved in a fatal boating accident on Lake Murray.

Stan Kiser died as a result of the accident and Shawn's injuries forced doctors to amputate her right leg.

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"You used to think that something’s on the floor you could just walk over it, but now I have to walk around it. It's been an adjustment," Kiser said. 

With the support of her two daughters, Morgan and Sloan Kiser, Shawn has been able to keep going. 

But that doesn't mean the journey has been without pain and sorrow. 

Credit: Mack, Chandler

“It’s just been so hard, harder than we would have ever though. But she has just gone through it like a champ the whole time,” said Sloan Kiser. 

To give Shawn's recovery a little boost, Dawn Staley, South Carolina Women's Basketball head coach, decided to visit Shawn at her rehabilitation center. 

Credit: Mack, Chandler

"You can see why she is such a great coach," Shawn says. "Next thing you know, I had my leg on and she had me walking down the hall. I didn’t think I could do it, but she’s given me great inspiration in learning my new normal.”

Coach Staley would then throw Shawn an interesting and unique challenge.

“She said 'You know Shawn, you better get used to walking because I’m going to make you walk in front of 18,000 people,'” said Morgan Kiser. 

Credit: Mack, Chandler

On March 1st, in front of over 10,000 Gamecock fans, Shawn Kiser and Dawn Staley walked to center court and were greeted with loud cheers from fans. 

It was a day and an experience that Shawn will never forget. 

"I was like wow! All these people are cheering for me?" says Shawn. "Coach has just given me so much hope and excitement, and I appreciate her challenging me because it really pushed me towards my goal.”

For Coach Staley, walking with Shawn was an experience she hopes inspires others. 

"She was actually walking faster than me," says Coach Staley. "She put a lot of time into it and it was amazing to be a part of it."

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