On the mend, Elissa says ‘Thank you’

Elissa Antonio
Elissa Antonio

In glorious sunshine at St. John’s Rehab Hospital in Rae Whistance Memory Gardens yesterday, a grateful and recovering Elissa Antonio cheerfully delivered an update on her recovery from injuries sustained in a 40-foot fall in Trinidad and Tobago.

“I feel great. I’m able to lift both feet. And I feel very accomplished,” Antonio told members of the media.

Elissa Antonio gets a helping hand from friend Aubrey Clarke. Gerald V. Paul photo.
Elissa Antonio gets a helping hand from friend Aubrey Clarke. Gerald V. Paul photo.

Referring to the public support she received after her plight became known, she said that every time she received an e-mail of encouragement, “I cried. The outpouring of love was such a blessing. I give God all the thanks and praise!”

The mother of daughters Brianna and Moneque was extensively injured in the accident while visiting family in Trinidad and Tobago.

Yesterday, she thanked everyone who helped bring her back to Canada for treatment.

Antonio had special thanks for friend Aubrey Clarke for getting the community support and spearheading the GoFund Me campaign which is ongoing. She also thanked the community, friends and family.

She is undergoing occupational therapy for upper body strength and physiotherapy to restore muscle strength.

With 60% of her body in pain in the aftermath of two surgeries April 12 to 15 and almost two weeks in rehab, she is expected to be off her injured leg for some 12 weeks. Antonio has gone from sitting up in bed to sitting in a wheel chair and now meeting the media, all the while grateful to have survived.

Antonio was stuck in Trinidad after the fall where the hospital lacked the expertise to deal with her injuries, necessitating the costly air ambulance plane flight back to Canada. She did not have travel insurance.

“When you are looking for any kind of travel insurance, check what’s on in it. Make sure the air lift is included, whenever you travel,” she said.

“I cannot repay Aubrey for all the work he has done and he is continuing to do,” Antonio said. The GoFundMe campaign raised $56,000 towards getting her home. “You helped save a life.”

Yesterday a delighted Clarke said, “It was nice to see Elissa looking like herself. Although she is still loaded up with pain killers so that she can function properly, she is doing amazing with her recovery.

“I truly believe in miracles and she is one of them.”

Her injuries include her pelvic bone, broken in several places and her right leg is fractured and right heel is broken. Most painful is the broken pelvic sacrum that connects to the spine and the nerves in her leg.

Antonio praised St John’s Rehab whose mission is the rebuilding of people’s lives. Founded in 1937 as the first Toronto area facility to offer rehabilitation care, it offers specialty programs for people with complex, life- changing injuries and illnesses.