Danforth shooting victim remains hopeful despite permanent injuries
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, January 4, 2019 7:25PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 4, 2019 7:37PM EST
A 31-year-old nursing student who was struck by a bullet during a mass shooting on the Danforth last summer said she is slowly coming to terms with the fact that she will never walk again.
Danielle Kane was celebrating a friend’s birthday with her boyfriend at an Italian restaurant on Danforth Avenue on July 22 when she heard sounds that resembled fireworks down the street.
“I didn’t think much of it and then one of the wait staff came out and told us that there was a gunman in the area and we should all go inside. I thought, a gunman, well that’s unlikely, but okay.”
A few minutes later someone said there was a person injured outside and Kane’s boyfriend, who is an emergency room nurse, decided to go outside and help. Kane said that she thought she could assist him and also exited the restaurant.
“I didn’t take more than one or two steps out of the restaurant when I made eye contact with someone across the street,” Kane said. “He had his arms down and all of a sudden his arms came up and there was a bright red flash and I realized he was the gunman.”
A bullet tore through her stomach and diaphragm, shattering a part of her spine. She told CTV News Toronto on Friday that it took about 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive and during that time it felt like she was “being suffocated to death.”
“It was excruciating,” she said. “One of my lungs had collapsed and the other was filling with blood and so it was really difficult to breathe.”
“I was absolutely thinking this could be it. This could be the end. And I remember feeling very strongly that I did not want my story to be over.”
Around 10 p.m. that night, a lone gunman fired shots along Danforth Avenue. Julianna Kozis, 10, and Reese Fallon,18, were killed in the attack and 13 others, including Kane, were injured.
Police said the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Kane was in a medically induced coma for 11 days. The shooting left her paralyzed from the waist down and doctors told her that they wouldn’t know for about six months if the injury was permanent or not.
She said she held out hope until she was transferred to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, where she learned her injury would never heal.
“That was devastating,” Kane said. “You never imagine this kind of thing happening. I’m still processing.”
There have been good days and bad days since then, but Kane said that she is working hard to stay positive.
“I’m confident that by the time I’m done, that my wheelchair skills will be strong enough that I will be more comfortable navigating an urban environment. I’m pretty hopeful.”
Kane said she has received an inpouring of support from the Danforth community and that all of the kind words have encouraged her to work harder at her rehabilitation.
“It’s part of the reason why I feel like I need to just get better, because I need to do justice to all the good that was done to kind of help get me back to somewhat of a normal life again.”
Kane has been offered a position as an intern with the Ontario Nurses’ Association and she plans on returning to complete her nursing program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in September.