CANADAIGUA, N.Y. — After a trip to Haiti, one Rochester professor has made it her mission to provide prosthetic devices for those in need. Her work is now changing the trajectory of one family’s entire life.

It is a dream come true for research development specialist Jade Myers to finally reunite with her best friend Danie Exilus, a Haitian migrant.

“I saw her come around the corner and my heart felt like it was in my shoe,” Myers said. “And she came out the door and saw me and she just screamed, ‘Mommy, mommy, mommy.’ And ran and just dropped everything. And we just embraced for a very long time. And there were a lot of tears.” 

Exilus is from Haiti and in 2010 she was injured so badly during earthquakes there that she was forced to amputate her own arm to survive.

Myers met Exilus when she traveled to Haiti to deliver prosthetics to those in need. And a friendship was born.

“It's not just the impact that you can have on someone else," Myers said. "It's the impact that you can allow others to have on you. Because she has changed my life completely for the better.”

Working endlessly to bring her friend to the United States, Myers was finally able to welcome Danie and her two daughters recently to their new home in the small town of Canandaigua.

“I recognize the gift, and everyone will have the chance to find someone to love them for them," Exilus said. "And people have to have faith within themselves."

From learning English to eating pizza and watching classic films like "Madagascar," Exilus is enjoying the American dream. But it hasn’t been easy, as she was forced to leave her husband and her son in Haiti.

“It takes a lot to leave your family behind,” Myers said. “You have to know that you're doing the best for the rest of your family in coming and in being so, frankly, very brave to come to somewhere that you know very little about.”

Despite feeling a sense of loss, Myers continues to help Exilus every step of the way.

“It's nice to see them see things for the first time,” Myers said. “And to watch that chin of hers slowly rising, you know, as she's getting more pride and getting used to things here. I love you, too.”

Although the transition can be hard, Myers and Danie say friends make it easier.

“It's never been about her getting a better arm,” Myers said. “It's about people like me, she says. It's been a nice thing to be part of her journey, letting her turn her pain into something just beautiful for others.”