Injured mom who pushed boy out of tornado path: 'Impact is still very fresh'
Published Monday, August 18, 2014 10:05AM EDT
An injured Toronto woman is recalling a family camping trip that put her and her son in the path of a tornado in Grand Bend, Ont. in July.
On Sunday, July 27, Amy Boileau was camping at Pinery Provincial Park with her family, as she's done every year for the last decade. It started to rain, so Boileau and her 5-year-old son took shelter at a picnic table under a tarp.
But the wind quickly picked up and the rain became even heavier, Boileau said.
Family members described seeing tree branches and objects from nearby campsites flying through the air sideways, and hearing screams right before the tornado hit.
Sitting under the tarp, Amy Boileau noticed conditions getting worse, and pushed her son under the table. She tried to fit under the table herself, but was too big to fit through the gap between the bench and the table top, so she stuck her head under the table, leaving her lower back exposed.
It was then that a tree crashed down on them, crushing Boileau's pelvis and sacrum, a bone that connects the pelvis to the backbone.
"I remember being hit, the impact is still very fresh in my mind," Boileau said Sunday, recalling the incident three weeks later from a wheelchair in London, Ont.
"I could feel the broken bones move," Boileau told CTV London's Gerry Dewan, adding that she thinks she's lucky to have lived through the tornado.
But Boileau is self-employed, running two businesses from home, so she doesn't have insurance or benefits to cover the costs of recovery and pay the bills while she can't work.
Facing a long and expensive recovery, friends, family and even strangers are trying to help her.
A London, Ont. woman gave Boileau's family free accommodations at her bed and breakfast during Boileau's stay at a nearby hospital.
A friend set up a website for donations from the public.
"I look at it every day," Boileau said through tears. "It feels so amazing and I feel so, so much gratitude, and no words can explain it."
The website's goal was to raise $25,000 to cover Boileau's bills. At 9 a.m. on Monday, the site had raised $25,890.
With files from CTV London's Gerry Dewan and CTV Toronto's Heather Wright