UA dancer 'perseveres with grace'

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TUCSON -- Proud and strong, against all odds, a dancer at the University of Arizona is graduating with her classmates, after surviving a violent crime.

College graduation is a major milestone for anyone, but Thursday night's ceremony was extra sweet for 22-year-old Alicia Brady. A sudden burst of violence almost cost the the U of A dancer her life.

"It was gang related and basically we were just caught in the line of fire," explains Alicia.

Two years ago Alicia and her friends were leaving a party when a fight between rival gangs broke out. A bullet from an a-k 47 assault rifle, changed her life forever.

Alicia survived 8 emergency surgeries.

The once graceful dancer found herself struggling just to breathe.

"We would get through one and we would think OK, that's got to be it and just didn't happen, she kept having these crashes and emergency surgeries," says Alicia's father Randy.

"I even remember praying 'God if you need to take her cause I don't know how much more she can do and she's yours,' but he gave her back,"  says Dena Brady.

Alicia slowly started to recover. She missed almost a year of school, but she never gave up, "I just started dancing again, I'm moving again."

And she's graduating on time. Alicia took summer school and extra classes to be with her friends and fellow dancers. "I am proud of myself," she laughs.

But not as proud as her parents, "There aren't words to describe it.  She has come so far and gone through so much and she has persevered and not only persevered but she's done it with grace."

Alicia hopes to continue dancing as long as her body will let her. She also plans on sharing her story to educate people on the dangers of gang violence.