Skip to main content
Photo of white flowers in Spiral Garden

X's Story

The story below details difficult topics and gun violence, please take care while reading.   

X was an inpatient at Holland Bloorview for three months as she recovered from injuries acquired as a result of gun violence. While receiving treatment X was surrounded by an equally bold and fierce care team who joined in her goal of breaking barriers and achieving her goal of being physically independent.

Thanks to her care team, her supportive family and her own dedication, X was able to get to where she wanted to go -- which was back home in time for her seventeenth birthday.

X is just one of many kids who benefit from Holland Bloorview’s holistic approach to care and recovery. While at the hospital, she participated in the wide variety programs aimed to support healing and provide clients with a sense of joy or relief during their stay.

X is proof that holistic care and tailored treatment can create a more meaningful future for kids with disabilities.

X’s tell her story as a former client of Holland Bloorview and as a survivor of gun violence.

When I came to Holland Bloorview on July 20th, 2023 I immediately wanted to leave.

I wasn’t in my own city, I was away from my family. Knowing I’d be there for three months I thought ‘get me out of this place!’ I didn’t want to be at another hospital. But quickly after arriving at Holland Bloorview, I realized I was wrong.

Before all of this, I didn’t think that gun violence was something that could effect me but I was wrong, it can effect anyone.  

Last April someone I thought was my friend invited me to come hangout. So, I did what so many teenagers do: I snuck out to have some fun.

When I got there I saw this ‘friend’ had brought a gun. I was scared, but we were all friends! We were on the football team together and I had classes with him. I didn’t think he would hurt any of us. I figured the gun was just something he brought to look slick.

At about 3:30am I went to the bathroom and when I walked out he looked at me and asked if I wanted to get shot.

“What? No!” I laughed, I brushed it off. 

And then he shot me.

I was in complete shock.

When he realized how hurt I was, he and my other so-called ‘friends’ left the apartment and me.

I screamed for help, hoping someone would hear me.

A white man came, saw me, and then walked away. Then a black woman came in and called 9-1-1. She was a nurse and kept me conscious until the ambulance arrived.

When I came out of the coma days later they told me that the bullet was lodged in my spine and had caused plenty of damage along the way.

I was in a few other hospitals until I was ready for rehab. That’s when I went to Holland Bloorview.

The level of care I received and the support that I felt at Holland Bloorview was different than any of the other hospitals I have been to.

While it was hard to adjust to the idea of being so far away from most of my family, I had my sister with me and I realized I was really in good hands. For the first time I had a team that let me be me. The people who took care of me at Holland Bloorview pushed me to be independent and met me where I was at.

I did physio, so much physio… and while I rolled my eyes, it made a world of a difference – especially because of my therapists. Lindsay Brazil, my physiotherapist, Michelle Tanel and Alysha Friedman, my occupational therapists, all completely transformed my recovery. Not only did they provided me with personal care, they treated me with a level on companionship that made me feel less alone when I was so far away from home.

Their compassion and the sense of collaboration meant everything to me. It is because they took the time to listen to me, and to teach me how to do things on my own that I’ve been able to finish recovering at home. They taught me how to get in and out of my chair, switch my catheter, pushed me to try new things, and encouraged me to keep setting new goals.

After being left on my own the night I was shot, having a team of people behind me meant so much to me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family and support team that has remained by my side.

What was great about Holland Bloorview too is that they provided support beyond just what I needed medically. There were activities during my stay that I was able to participate in like art nights, pet visits, and I even got to go to a Toronto Argonauts game a few weeks before I went home.

The extraordinary treatment and the resources available to Holland Bloorview kids are all made possible because of your generous donations. So I am not only thankful for the wonderful people at Holland Bloorview, but to everyone who makes it possible.

Thank you to the people who support the mission, who support the cause, and who believe in a world of possibilities for kids and youth with disabilities.