ST. LOUIS – When Anthony Taylor first heard of the Feb. 18 crash a few blocks away from the convention center that resulted in Janae Edmondson losing both her legs, he began thinking about a way to help.

Although it was a cold and wet Friday morning, it didn’t stop Taylor, the founder of AMP Connections, and his group from collecting funds for the teens.

“This really hit home for me,” Taylor said. “I lost my legs to gun violence in September 2021. I’m doing all this stuff in the loss of limb community. I just got the running leg. I’m just like, we got to get out here and give back.”

Taylor said he had just graduated in 2021 from UMSL with an undergraduate degree in accounting when his world was turned upside down.

He said it was a random shooting that changed his life. Sheriff Vernon Betts of the St. Louis Sheriff’s Office has been in the courtroom and heard Edmondson’s parents testify in front of a judge.

“I’ve had an opportunity to hear her both times, and it almost brings me to tears,” Betts said. “As a matter of fact, it has brought me to tears the first time I heard her testimony. So I’m just moved not so much as the sheriff but as a human being.”

Edmondson was in St. Louis for a volleyball tournament when police said a speeding car driven by 21-year-old Daniel Riley failed to yield at the intersection, colliding with another car. That second vehicle struck the teenager, resulting in the amputation of both her legs.

“I’m standing in solidarity with Anthony and Amp Connections,” said Dr. LJ Punch, trauma surgeon, and community advocate. “A group that is advocating. We know that a young woman became part of the loss of limb community on this corner. We want to stand in the support, recognizing the loss, but also standing in the strength and hope of recovery.”

Punch said he spent part of the morning with members of AMP Connections.

“It was just like my world had, I didn’t know what the next steps were going to look like,” Taylor said. “So I just want to come out here and encourage her to know that everything that she dreams for, she’ll be able to do again, and you just have to keep that hope. Because I was told I would never be able to walk again.”