‘I was a book a day reader, loved crossword puzzles, cooking and watching the Blue Jays. Because of April 23rd, 2018, I will never read a book again’
Ontario Justice Anne Molloy heard from the survivors and the families of the 11 people killed when Alek Minassian drove a rented van down a busy Toronto sidewalk on April 23, 2018. Here are a few of the victim impact statements delivered in court on Monday.
Toronto van attack victim impact statement — Beverly Smith
On April 22nd, 2018, I slept in the king size bed I bought myself as a retirement gift.
On April 22nd, 2018 I could go on overnight trips to my grandsons basketball tournaments, push my granddaughters on the swings at the park and dance at my nephews wedding.
On April 22nd, 2018 I lived an unimpeded and simple life. A retired librarian of 30 years, I was a book a day reader, loved crossword puzzles, cooking and watching the Blue Jays. I traveled between my children’s houses every weekend to spend time with them and my grandchildren. I could take the train to visit my brother and sister as well as friends in Niagara. I went to the ballet 6 times a year
On April 22nd, 2018, I daydreamed about the next family trip we would take to somewhere warm to escape the winter.
On April 23rd 2018, I had both my legs amputated above the knee. I suffered a traumatic brain injury and had 2 different brain hemorrhages. I had extensive rib and facial fractures, 4 spinal fractures. I had delirium for 2 months and couldn’t recognize my family members.
On April 23rd, 2018, I almost died
On April 23rd 2018, I had a ventilator inserted so I could breathe. It was there for almost a month and because of it I got pneumonia.
On April 23rd 2018, I moved into the hospital for 4 months.
On April 23rd 2018, my family and I were changed forever. My son now has separation anxiety from me and his family. He has panic attacks whenever someone doesn’t answer the phone because of the 100’s of times he tried to reach me that day. My daughter’s 3 boys are brought to tears every time they remember hearing their own mother screaming on the phone when she was told that her mother had been hit.
Because of April 23rd, 2018, I will sleep in a hospital bed for the rest of my life. I will never read a book again. I will struggle to do the simplest tasks like using the washroom and taking a shower. I will struggle with memory loss and get easily confused. I have lost the confidence to travel on my own and I feel like I am a burden to my children.
Because of April 23rd, 2018, my family has spent 100’s of thousands of dollars to make their houses accessible for me.
Because of April 23rd, 2018, I needed help to write this.
Toronto van attack victim impact statement — Rocco D’Amico
My name is Rocco D’Amico. I am the father of Anne Marie D’Amico, whose life was stolen from us on April 23, 2018 in the “Toronto Van attack”. Anne Marie was only 30 years old.
I want to thank your honor “Madam Justice Molloy” for presiding over Canada’s equivalent to 9-11. The universe must be spoken. You share the same name as my baby girl.
To the prosecutors and all the staff; thank you for bringing this nightmare to a close.
To the other innocent victims and their families; know that we grieve with you. We hurt with you. We love you and may peace find you.
To all the compassionate citizens who tended to fall, while waiting for first responders; thank you and all 1st responders for your valiant efforts on that day?
Your Honour, the destruction and pain, inflicted on my family and others, is unspeakable. I cannot find words to give voice to the emptiness that lives within. The daily tears my family continues to shed would overflow a courtroom. I long for the day this pain might diminish.
I am among 26 families who are living in a constant hell: All because women would not respond to the advances of this killer. As we bear this pain, his family will bear that shame.
If Anne Marie had known this murderershe would have tried to find the best in him. She would not have given up until she got the BEST out of him. This is the kind of person the world lost that day But, his hate and rage towards women, controlled him; All that carnage for a place in history.
He murdered Anne Marie D’Amico, but he did not extinguish her spirit. Her voice has not been silenced. This appalling attack gave rise to a foundation in her name; to protect the vulnerable from people like him.
Your Honour, you have been burdened with a historic responsibility. The survivors of this massacre have put all their faith in you and the process. They have placed all their trust in your ability and experience to deliver justice.
Please, reflect on this when considering justice in this case. When a woman is abused, when she is shut down, isolated, degraded or killed, we lose the life, vitality and all potential contribution that she could have made to her family, friends, and community. Violence against women leads to suffering. If some suffer, we all suffer
Toronto van attack victim impact statement — JunSeok Park
April 23rd in 2020, I was walking on Yonge street with my ex-girlfriend Hyeon Jeong Moon and a stranger named Alex suddenly attacked us with a van to kill us without any reason. I could not remember that day until I woke up 4~5 weeks later from a COMA due to brain injury at Sunnybrook hospital and doctors said my brain was shut down to protect from trauma. Until now, I cannot remember the day at all.
However, after I woke up, I felt pain due to brain injury. Dizziness, high blood pressure, vomiting, lack of strength to walk due to such a long time in a COMA. I had to stay in Sunnybrook hospital for 2 weeks then was transferred to the Bridgepoint Rehab hospital for rehabilitation. During that time, I felt pain whenever I laid down to bed due to dizziness and could not hear that much using right ear due to brain injury and damage to my vestibular system.
After being discharged from the Rehab hospital, I had to get therapies to heal my physical condition and mental condition. I had to attend Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Counselling, Psychological Therapy, Brain condition check with doctors at Sunnybrook hospital, and Physiotherapy for damaged vestibular system. I cannot hear well anymore with my right ear due to the permanent damage. I have to worry about having a seizure and stroke every day until I die due to this brain injury by this van attack. I still take my medication every day for my brain injury to prevent seizures and stroke. I get horrible nightmares every day and can’t get long comfortable sleep at all after brain injury due to this attack.
I now have a fear of driving myself due to this van attack because car accidents come to my nightmares frequently and I am easily tired with dizziness and headaches due to brain injury. Also, my vision is much lower than before this Van attack happened to me because I now have an Astigmatism. It has affected my job searching and impacted my future plans to live because I was to graduate from Centennial College’s Environmental Program as a Water Control Technician, but this requires a driver’s license.
Due to lack of comfortable sleep, I have no confidence being able to drive and work safely due to lack of strength during whole day. So, I am now easily tired after doing simple housework and must get sleep to prevent falling down on the floor. My life pattern is ruined and mostly only up during afternoon or evening. Now my concentration is much weaker and shorter due to lack of strength and astigmatism. I also can feel back pain and neck pain after Van attack and couldn’t get any therapy about that because I had no idea that I could get some support from insurance company before about those injuries. I also can’t walk or run long distances due to my weak body condition.
It was horrible because my relationship with my ex-girlfriend was broken due to her memory loss. We had about 4 years of relationship suddenly broken due to Van attack. Also, my family had a hard time because they had to stay in Toronto, spending their own money, for 19 months to take care of me. That caused many problems in my relationship with my family because they were poor, and I couldn’t work until now to recover my health condition. Now, finally they broke relationship with me and don’t have contact with me anymore because they think I am the thing that ruined their life financially. This would not have happened if the Van attack had never happened in my life. Now I am living with limited money from Toronto Strong Fund and I have to worry every day for my future. My insurance coverage and support is done and I can’t keep up with my therapies because I don’t have enough money to pay for it. Now I have to live with no therapy.
Alex Minnasian has ruined my past, present, and future.
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