Last month we had a tragic stabbing under the Royal Park bridge downtown. Thankfully Suzanne, the victim is recovering, but she needs our help.
Read Suzanne’s story as told by her friend Jill and donate through their GoFundMe.
Sunday, April 8th, was a beautiful morning and Suzanne did what she loves to do best on her day off; she walked her old dog and then rode her bicycle downtown to the waterfront, while her son went to Church.
Everything changed at 11.00 am when she was accosted under the Royal Park Bridge, pushed off her bike and attacked. A West Palm resident for 14 years, Suzanne was raised a tough, proud and independent New Yorker, daughter of a cop, and of Sicilian and German descent. She fought him off as best she could, screaming for help until she saw the look in his eyes as he stabbed her in the chest. As a single Mum thinking only what would become of her son if she died, she stopped screaming and said “Please don’t kill me.” At that moment he paused and then walked away. But she was critically wounded and bleeding profusely. She managed to call 911 and in twenty minutes was in the hospital having open heart surgery as the knife had entered her right atrium.
When I got the call from St. Mary’s, she was already in surgery but had asked that I tell her son what had happened. This was tough as he is her only child and disabled. She was kept in the trauma unit, unable to speak with a tube down her throat to help her breathe until the fluid in her lungs cleared up. Family members from out of town rushed to her bedside to comfort her and her son. She was discharged after a week in intensive care.
Now Suzanne is home, but still on unpaid leave from her demanding shift job, facing huge medical bills for the incredible life-saving treatment she received at St. Mary’s, only partly covered by insurance. Her progress is painful and steady but will be lengthy until the eight-inch scar down her sternum heals. Friends, co-workers and neighbors rallied round, offering support, bringing meals for them and doing errands.
To add insult to injury, after Suzanne got home, and filed her tax return she discovered that her identity had been stolen and now has to deal with the ensuing paperwork and further financial loss. But her attitude remains strong and defiant. She says she will continue to cycle when she is well enough and gets her bike back. The Police received hundreds of tips when this attack made the headlines and are still working diligently to identify, find and arrest the assailant who is still at large.
Suzanne needs the kindness of strangers as well as her friends to survive this. Her message to all is: Do not be afraid but be more alert and take self-defense classes.
So, all you joggers, cyclists and West Palm residents, friends and co-workers, please contribute whatever you can to help. You could be next.
Police have still not identified the suspect and are asking anyone with information to call West Palm Beach police at 561-822-1823 or 561-822-1782, or Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 800-458-TIPS (8477).