On Thursday, October 4th, 2018 at 7am, Julia Cawse was cycling when she was struck by an SUV. She was in the bike lane, using bike lights and wearing her helmet when the driver, at a speed of 80km in a 60km zone, drove into the bike lane and ran Julia over. Julia sustained life threatening injuries; two skull fractures, brain hemorrhaging, two arterial dissections resulting in multiple strokes, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, fractured bone fragments in her cheeks, a punctured lung, liver damage, a broken femur, and a broken jaw in two places. She was unconscious in St. Michael’s Hospital ICU for 9 weeks. Julia was then transferred to the Trauma and Neurosurgery inpatient unit of the hospital where she eventually regained consciousness and began her journey to recovery and rehabilitation for the next 5 months. From there Julia was transferred to Toronto Rehabilitation Institute for several months and now is an out-patient at Toronto Rehab-Lyndhurst Centre. Although she defied the odds by surviving, the brain damage has left her with some cognitive impairment with no mobility in her legs, minimal mobility in her arms and wheelchair bound.
Since her first year of University, Julia had relied on her bike as a mode of transportation and continued to do so after graduating. She was a cautious and confident rider in the city. Wherever it allowed, she would travel bike lanes for added safety.
Julia is 24 years old and a recent graduate of Ryerson’s Early Childhood Studies program. At the time of the accident, she loved working as a live-in nanny for a Toronto family. Her endless positive energy, enthusiasm, sense of humour and love for life was infectious. Whether she was crafting with kids, or having an impromptu dance party in the living room with her friends, she was always putting smiles on people's faces. If you were to ask what three words best described Julia, the words vibrant, passionate and fierce would be at the forefront. It was her ferocity that made her a survivor of one of the worst car accidents involving a cyclist in 2018, and now a fighter against the adversity she faces.
October 4th, 2018 turned Julia’s life upside down and marked the beginning of a very long road ahead for Julia both physically and psychologically. The accident also drastically changed Julia’s (and her parents’) life from every perspective.
With Julia nearing the completion of her final out-patient rehabilitation, she will for the first time in over a year, be going home to live with her family. However, this brings new challenges and a lifetime of rehabilitation. Julia still has significant disabilities and will remain in a wheelchair which necessitates renovations being made to her family’s home to make it accessible; installing ramps, expanding a bathroom, rollin-shower, etc. These renovations are very costly.
With her disability as it is, Julia does not have the autonomy to do basic things for herself, such as taking care of her personal needs, feeding, itching her nose, bathing herself and dressing.. Taking care of Julia and helping her go about her day is a full time job and requires paying for personal support workers and expensive specialized equipment.
Julia and her parents have been professionally advised that the amount of the settlement from her own insurer and the driver’s insurer will not even come close to covering her medical, rehabilitation and attendant care needs in the future.
The motivation for this GoFundMe initiative is to assist Julia in maximizing her recovery by assisting her during the decades of rehabilitation that lie ahead for her. Julia’s family had asked for privacy during this past year, but after much convincing have allowed Julia's friends to set up this GoFundMe for her.
Any amount of monetary donations would be greatly appreciated. If you’re unable to donate, we would appreciate you sharing her story - not just for Julia’s benefit, but for others as well. Please keep Julia in your hearts by donating and sharing her story.