'There's still a lot of living I can do': paralyzed Danforth victim heads to Niagara Falls
A woman who was paralyzed from the waist down in Toronto’s Danforth shooting has taken her first trip away from rehab to Niagara Falls, Ont.
“I wouldn't want my worst enemy to go through what I'm going through, because it's awful,” Danielle Kane told CTV Toronto’s Tracy Tong near the iconic landmark.
On the night of July 22, 29-year-old Faisal Hussain opened fire with a handgun on a busy stretch of Toronto’s Danforth Avenue, killing a 10-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman. Thirteen people were also injured in the horrific shooting spree, including Kane, 31. The violence in the popular Greektown neighbourhood only ended when Hussain died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Kane had been dining at a Danforth restaurant with a friend and her boyfriend, Jerry Pinksen, that night. When they heard that someone had been shot outside, Pinksen, an emergency room nurse, rushed out to help. Kane, a nursing student, followed close behind.
“Seconds after we exited the side door, I made eye contact with whom I didn't know was the shooter,” Kane recalled from her wheelchair. “From just like a calm standing position, he immediately… picked up his hands and was shooting at us.”
While Pinksen avoided getting shot, Kane wasn’t so lucky.
“It entered from just on my side here,” she said of the bullet, pointing to the left side of her body. “It exited in my back.”
That bullet shattered part of her spine. Kane spent 11 days in a medically-induced coma and underwent multiple surgeries. Some doctors have told her that she may be able to walk again. Others, however, have told her not to hold out hope.
“Obviously, I would be happy if I could walk again, right?” Kane said. “But I’m not, I guess, hoping too much for that in a way. I kind of want to just accept things as they are now.”
Tonight, Sept. 13, is the first time she is spending a night away from rehab since starting about three weeks ago. Kane is in Niagara Falls to be honoured at a healthcare conference. She plans to use the occasion to advocate for more mental health programs a handgun ban in the City of Toronto.
“I feel responsible in a way,” she said. “I think it's not very often that people get a platform, and I mean these are values I've held very closely for a long time.”
Kane also plans to finish her nursing degree.
“I think that there’s a lot of nursing roles that can be done, even though someone is disabled,” she said.
Despite having to undergo another six weeks of rehab, Kane says she is still looking forward to the future.
“Obviously no one wants to be paralyzed, but I do feel lucky that I didn't die,” she said. “So, I mean there's still a lot of living I can do.”
With a report from CTV News Toronto reporter Tracy Tong