On Monday, February 12, 2018, Francisco was was violently attacked by a stranger on a subway train. He was stabbed up the nose with an ice pick that penetrated his brain cavity and skull. He was bleeding profusely when I went to his aid and helped stabilize the situation until the paramedics arrived. The media covered this as a good news story...
Toronto Sun - 'Urban angels' help 'miraculous' recovery of TTC ice pick attack victim (Feb 21)
NewsTalk 1010 - Toronto's Urban Angel (Feb 22)
680 News - Good Samaritan describes chaos during College subway attack (Feb 14)
Yes, it is good news (no, incredible news) that Francisco survived the attack and the subsequent surgeries. But, I'm sure you can imagine, the situation is far more complicated. Here are a few things you don't know...
Francisco is home now, but he is recovering from a brain injury. He sometimes has intense headaches, fever, confusion or trouble remembering. He has had a seizure. He cannot see very well with his left eye.
Three days after the incident, Francisco was informed by his employer, the Bloor Information and Life Skills Centre, where he has worked for 7 years in the newcomer settlement and pre-senior programs, that the organization will be closing and that all staff will be laid off because its service agreement with the United Way is not going to be renewed (and this source constitutes 90% of its funding). So, Francisco is now out of a job.
Francisco is in a precarious financial situation. What he needs right now is help to make ends meet during this recovery period. He needs time to adjust to his new physical realities as well as to deal with the emotional trauma. But, ultimately, what he wants is to get back to work.
I met Francisco for the first time on that subway platform, but since then I've had the pleasure of getting to know him personally and meeting some of the people whose lives he has touched. He has always done community work - most recently with Spanish-speaking seniors and newcomers, but before that with young offenders at Operation Spring Board, and before that with homeless men at the Scott Mission. He has been recognized for his volunteerism at the Good Shepherd Ministries (see below) and elsewhere. Before he came to Canada, he was an elementary school teacher in El Salvador, but had to leave when his life was in danger due to the political climate.
Francisco is a good and decent man who is facing hard times right now through no fault of his own. I am hoping that people in the community will see the value in supporting this lovely human being. 100% of the proceeds of this campaign will go directly to Francisco.
Moreover, Francisco will be looking for employment in Toronto, Ontario preferrably in the social services sector. Please contact me if you have opportunities that you would like to bring to his attention.
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