Beverly Smith, a retired teacher and librarian, awoke from surgery to learn doctors had amputated both legs in order to save her life
TORONTO — Beverly Smith has only hazy memories of the van attack that killed 10 people and left her broken and bleeding on a north Toronto sidewalk months ago.
But the 81-year-old Toronto woman grapples with the legacy of the April attack every day, as she adapts to life in a wheelchair and works to regain the independence she enjoyed before the devastating incident.
Smith, a retired teacher and librarian, awoke from emergency surgery to learn doctors had amputated both legs in order to save her life. She was also told she had suffered some brain damage, which her family believes may be to blame for her vague recollections.
“It hasn’t really hit me, only certain things,” she told The Canadian Press in a recent interview at the Toronto hospital where she continues to recover. “Like if I see somebody dancing or jumping, I think, I can’t do that anymore.”
The grandmother of five has also been experiencing phantom pains, which she described as feeling like she is wearing too-tight shoes and socks. “I keep thinking they’re there, but they’re not. There’s nothing there,” she said.
Fifteen others were wounded in the brazen daytime attack that made international headlines and left Toronto reeling with grief, with some predicting the city would be forever changed.
A 25-year-old man, Alek Minassian, was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. His case remains before the courts, with the next date set for September.
The site of the crash was transformed into a monument to public mourning as shocked residents left flowers and cards that were later cleared away in anticipation of a permanent memorial.
A fund in support of the victims has so far raised $3.4 million, and will continue to collect donations until the end of August. The money is set to be disbursed over the following month.
Smith’s family has also set up an online fundraiser to help cover the costs of her care and of making their homes wheelchair-accessible ahead of her return, which is scheduled for September.
And while there has been an outpouring of support from friends and strangers alike, Smith’s family worry her story will be forgotten as the city begins to move on.
Though Smith recalls very little about the incident — she has foggy memories of a phone booth, though there was none at the site — her children said every detail of that day is seared in their minds.