'I will become Kim again soon': Last hospitalized victim of attack staying positive one month later
Meanwhile, other members of the community are organizing a Unity Rally for Friday
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Nearly a month after being struck by the driver of a cube van in downtown Edmonton, Kim O’Hara has her sights firmly set on recovery.
Chief among her priorities ― getting her nails done when she gets out of hospital.
O'Hara, 30, was one of the four people struck when Abdulahi Hasan Sharif allegedly careened down Jasper Ave late on the night of September 30, hours after a police officer was stabbed, in an attack that made headlines around the world.
Now, the five people injured—not to mention the city as a whole—are moving on.
Despite having been through a horrific ordeal, which left her with a fractured skull, brain bleed and fractured leg, Hayley Bradford, O’Hara’s sister-in-law, said O’Hara is staying positive.
On Bradford’s first visit to the hospital, O’Hara quipped about how she was looking forward to getting her hair and nails done.
“I laughed pretty hard and promised her a girl’s trip as soon as she could get out,” Bradford said.
After being in a coma for three days and spending time in the Intensive Care Unit, O’Hara is in brain training and physiotherapy and was moved to the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital last Monday.
She still searches for the right words when speaking but is doing well overall, Bradford said. Doctors have not given her a timeline for her recovery.
Through a text message forwarded by her sister-in-law on Thursday, O’Hara said she was feeling “a lot more positive” after a challenging day on Wednesday.
“She’s determined she’s going to make a full recovery,” Bradford said.
The three other pedestrians who were struck by a cube van on Sept. 30 have since left hospital.
Const. Mike Chernyk, who was also struck by a vehicle and fought off a knife-wielding suspect, is back at work and doing well, Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht said last week.
He even asked to work an Eskimos game, despite having being attacked while on duty at a different Eskimos game.
“If it was up to him he would have put (rehab) aside and got back to work,” Knecht said last Thursday.
“He’s very, very fortunate to be alive … I think he did a fantastic job and kudos to him,” he added. “He’s a tremendous ambassador for the city and I think for the Edmonton Police Service as well.”
Meanwhile, community organizers have continued to speak out against hate, after Sharif’s arrest caused some to point fingers at the Somali community.
The Ogaden Somali Community of Alberta is holding a rally at City Hall Friday to show solidarity with the victims of the attack, as well as first responders.
“We want to show hate will not divide us,” Executive Director Ahmed Abdulkadir told Metro.
“Because every day each one of us is working hard to make our community better and safer. And what better way to start with than a diverse group of people who have been working together?”
His group is holding the event in partnership with the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Safety Summit Committee, REACH Edmonton and others.
Abdulkadir said his organization is still hearing about backlash against Somali and Muslim Canadians in the form of hateful speech or assaults. Part of the reason they’re holding the event is to inform people how they can respond if they witness someone being targeted due to their race or religion.
“From our angle, we keep hearing incidents occasionally every other week … if we hear something, what are the steps we need to take? If you see someone walk into your agency, what do you need to know in order to comfort them if they are facing some hardship?”
Abdulkadir said it was “crucial” to invite Edmonton police and first responders to the table due to the role they play in keeping communities safe.
“We know what they go through on a day-to-day basis. We want to say thank you to them and recognize what they do.”
Meanwhile, O’Hara is looking forward to getting out of the hospital. Her sister-in-law Bradford started a GoFundMe campaign with a $40,000 goal. So far, they’ve raised nearly $33,000.
Via text, O’Hara told Metro that the fact that so many people who don’t know her have donated money warms her heart.
“I would have never thought I would get a fundraiser (dedicated) to me … still a dream,” she said.
“I will become Kim again soon.”