PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The Philadelphia 76ers are honoring a local teen who embodies strength and perseverance after surviving a shooting in her North Philadelphia neighborhood two years ago.
On Thursday, the Sixers celebrated 14-year-old Judelly Sanchez as the Strong Kid of the Game, bringing her to center court for a special meet-and-greet and jersey presentation with Sixers small forward Robert Covington.
In 2016, Sanchez was caught in a gunman's crossfire while she and a friend were getting a snack at a Fairhill convenience store. At least 19 shots were fired from a high-powered assault rifle and handgun, striking her twice in the leg. Bullet fragments ripped through her skin.
When asked about street violence and those who commit it, the then 12-year-old didn't mince words.
"They should probably stop because they're hurting people bad, and God don't like that," she told FOX 29.
After the incident, Sanchez was determined not to let anything hold her back, so she committed herself to running. After she got off her crutches, she joined Girls on the Run and completed her first 5k over the summer.
With the help of her friends and coaches, Sanchez has found security in overcoming the fear she felt living in her own neighborhood. And now that Sanchez is in high school, she's hoping to move into a leadership role with the nonprofit to help empower others like her.
Sanchez joined Good Day Philadelphia Tuesday, along with her mother, Elizabeth, and Girls on the Run coach Leana Johnson to share her story.