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Abuser to Friend: Sadie Robertson Huff Shares Paralympian’s Incredible Story

Photo from Sadie Robertson Huff’s YouTube channel

Abuser to Friend: Sadie Robertson Huff Shares Paralympian’s Incredible Story

By Movieguide® Contributor

Paralympian swimmer and dwarf Danielle (Dee) Cekanor recently told Sadie Robertson Huff the incredible story of how God turned the unlikeliest of people—an abusive stranger—into a good friend.

“I was living in Montreal; this was in 2018, and I was walking home one night by myself, and there was a homeless man who was outside of this McDonald’s, and as soon as he saw me, he started yelling at me,” the Canadian native said on Huff’s podcast. “He…was definitely pumped up on a lot of drugs. He had tattoos all over his face. He was a really scary guy.”

“He started swearing at me,” Cekanor (formerly Kisser) continued. “He started laughing at me, making fun of me, and I had never experienced something so intense like that. I have experienced photos; I have experienced, you know, people making comments, like rude things, but I had never experienced being verbally like assaulted in the street.”

Cekanor tried to ignore the man and continued to walk home. As she did, she started to cry.

“I was like… I’m just going to get in get in my apartment; it’s fine…’ I get upstairs, I sit on my couch, and I just like broke down because you cannot prepare for somebody to treat you that way,” the swimmer said. “Nobody deserves that, and nobody can prepare themselves for that.”

“I had said like, ‘God…you made me this way…you decided for some reason that I was going to look this way,'” she prayed. “’This was not my decision. This was not my choice. You gave me this life, so you have to come down and fix this because this is not okay.’”

She expected that God might bring her peace so that she could sleep that night. However, God had a different plan. She heard his voice asking her to go back and buy the man dinner.

She couldn’t shake off God’s instruction, so she put on her boots and walked back to the McDonald’s.

“I started praying, and I said, ‘Okay, Lord, I’m going to go and do this. I don’t want to do this. He’s scary, like, did you not just see what happened 30 minutes ago?” Cekanor said.

“But if this is you, he’s going to be outside the McDonald’s,’ she prayed. “If it’s not you, I’ll just go home and pretend this didn’t happen. But also, if this is you, like, you have to give me the words to say because I have no idea what to say right now,’” she said.

When she got there, she saw her abuser on the street corner.

“I remember looking at him, and he’s like smiling at me and laughing, and I just stuck out my hand, and I said, ‘Hey, my name’s Danielle. Can I buy you dinner?’ and his jaw like dropped to the floor,” Cekanor explained. “He was just absolutely in shock, and he looked at me, and he said, “You know, you would do that for me? And I said, ‘You know, yeah, like I forgive you.’”

“He immediately just started apologizing. He was so remorseful. He was saying things like, ‘You know, the drugs that I’m on…like, I am so sorry that I said those things,’” Cekanor said.

Cekanor forgave him and encouraged him to have food with her. He agreed.

“He told me that he was from the same place that I came from. So I actually looked this up… it’s 2,952 miles away. And he’s from the same place that I was from. And so I thought that was kind of cool,” she said.

“I was like, ‘Oh hey, God, that’s neat.’ And then he told me about his wife, he told me about his kids, that he hadn’t seen them in a few years, that he was really trying to get back to things,” she said. “And so he told me about that, and then I felt this nudge that I should pray for him.”

The man willingly accepted Cekanor’s offer and mentioned that he knew God a long time ago.

“I stuck my hand out on him—this little four-foot-one dwarf and this guy with tattoos all over his face, and I just prayed for him. And then, when I left, like I felt so close to him that I could have for sure given him a hug,” she shared.

“It was unreal how the Lord just transformed a situation from somebody yelling at me 30 minutes earlier to now feeling so close to this guy. His name is Shane. He’s my friend and all this stuff, and it was incredible,” she continued.

That event bolstered Cekanor’s trust in God. She knows without a doubt that when God tells her something, he will come through.

Five years after Cekanor met Shane, she gave a message at her church’s community dinner, where meals are given to the homeless.

“Five minutes before I was about to go on stage…all of a sudden Shane walks in, and the first thing that I thought when I saw him was that’s my friend,” she said. “And it was just this mind-blowing thing. Like I had not seen him for five years, and all of a sudden, the first time I’m giving a message at my home church that I grew up in, this guy from 2,952 miles away walks in the door of a church that I spent my life going to, but I met him in Montreal.”

Cekanor cried when she saw Shane. He introduced her to his family, whom he reconciled with. He also had a new baby, which he and his wife called their “redemption” baby.

Cekanor had always wondered what had happened to Shane. She feels grateful that God let her see “the end” of that story.

After her incredible experience with Shane, she says, “You cannot tell me that God isn’t real.”

Since Cekanor retired from swimming professionally, she now serves as one of Huff’s Live Original ambassadors and hosts a podcast with her husband called “A Little More Light.”

She told the Concordian how she tries to be a light to others: “By showing people what it is like to live with a disability, letting the young kids who have dwarfism know that life is going to be OK. This is what you can do.”

Movieguide® recently reported on another of Huff’s podcast episodes, this time with her mom as a guest:

In a recent podcast, DUCK DYNASTY’s mother and daughter duo, Korie Robertson and Sadie Robertson Huff, talk about anxiety and how we should respond to it…

“God has an abundant life for us, he has a life and he tells us ‘do not fear for I am with you,’” Korie said. “And you know when we are followers of Jesus he tells us, he’s like, I’m going and I’m leaving the spirit with you we have the spirit of God in us so we have we should be walking differently.”

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