As most of you are aware, my best friend was involved in the Barcelona terror attack last Thursday, August 17th. Heather has been overseas traveling to different countries and landed in Barcelona last Tuesday. While she was at a store on Las Ramblas Avenue - a famous street in central Barcelona - a terrorist named Moussa Oukabir, 17 years old, drove his van in a zig zag down the avenue with the goal of mowing down as many tourists as possible along the sidewalks. The terrorist killed 14 people and injured 100. The death toll continues to rise as tourists and civilians are still in critical condition.
As Heather fleed the shop she stood in terror as she came to realize she was in the middle of an attack on the city. Luckily for the victims, Heather is a veteran in the nursing field and fluent in spanish. She sprung to action trying to help as many victims as possible, focusing particularly on a small family - a mother, her 10 year old daughter named Fatima and 7 year old boy who is her cousin. The mother was in critical condition and the 7 year old boy was bleeding out. Heather helped the family as best as she could using her experience in the medical field. The daughter, as expected, was in complete shock, begging Heather to please not leave her injured family until they could get help. Once Heather did what she could for the mother and cousin Heather tried to soothe the daughter, unable to do so without picking up and carrying the 10 year old. Heather continues to remain in touch with the family. The 7 year old boy is now in a coma and the mother will be permanently disabled. Fatima told Heather "When I grow up, I will be a nurse." Heather is still in Barcelona. She will be returning to Long Island next week.
As I sat in my office on Thursday, only able to communicate with her family, I felt angry and helpless. I wanted to donate to the victims at Barcelona. I thought it would be amazing to get money over to the family that Heather has been staying in touch with. It would be amazing to help them with medical bills and possibly Fatima's future nursing degree. But what was my 50 bucks going to do on its own? Not much. But I do know that Heather is surrounded by some amazing people. Family I've grown up with, people I've met through her college journey, and friends we've bumped into randomly and remain in touch with. I see people consistently referring to Heather as a super hero, which she is. People who I know want this pathway to help Heather help this family. I've spoken with people in my office who relate to my anger and helplessness and friends who want to help Heather. Well, this is it. Your donations will go towards the medical bills of a family trying to bring their 7 year old baby out of a coma, or heal the mother trying to provide for her family, or the degree of the little girl who will never be the same. Your money will go to the victims of the attack. The money will not go into the abyss of the Red Cross or any other miscellaneous donation liason. It will go directly to the victims Heather is involved with and remains in touch with. As we all know, any small donation will add up to something significant. Heather will personally withdraw the money to be allocated to the victims of the attack.
Thank you for supporting Heather through this nightmare. She is my sister and an absolute superhero. I know the comments on Facebook, post sharing, and support provided by everyone has helped her get through this disaster. The impact this experience will have on her is large, as it should be on all of us as well.
- Judith McClelland
- Rosemarie Burgholzer
- Sharon Levy
- Justine Vanthoff
- Natalie Sanz
Organizer and beneficiary
West Babylon, NY