Survivors of Aug. 12 Car Attack Share Stories, Raise Money for Healing Fund
People are sharing their stories after surviving significant trauma last year.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - People are sharing their stories after surviving significant trauma last year.
They were there when a car plowed into a crowd of demonstrators on August 12, 2017, ultimately killing Heather Heyer.
Survivors and community members gathered at First United Methodist Church in Charlottesville on Friday, November 9, to share their stories and raise money to help those still recovering from the events of the Unite the Right rally.
"I was on the sidewalk when I saw the car out of my peripheral vision, and I turned just in time to see bodies flying through the air,” Al Bowie, a survivor of the attack, said.
Now, over a year after that deadly event, survivors are speaking out.
"It’s been a long 15 months,” Star Peterson, a survivor, said. “I've had five surgeries, I'll probably have a sixth one next year."
On Friday night, survivors of that car attack on 4th Street on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall shared their stories with the community.
"I just didn't know what happened, to be honest,” Tay Washington, a survivor, said. “I was inside of a car, it was my safe place. There were a lot of people trying to check on me, as far as civilians who were out there. But it was so crazy, I didn't want to get out of my car. I couldn't get out of my car."
They’re coming together now to help people continue healing.
"There are a number of us who still aren't able to work, who are still facing additional surgeries, and so we need a little more financial support from the community just to help us get to the end of our healing journeys,” Peterson said.
Washington says that without the community's help and the Heal Charlottesville Fund, she would have never been able to take the time to recover.
But the problem is that the fund is about to run out.
"They were just as positive as they could be,” Washington said. “They told me ‘be brave, we're going to be OK.’ And I felt like for us to go through something harsh and somebody found the strength to say that and get that messed up, there had to be a god with us."
A total of 29 people were injured in the car attack, and several remain unable to work or still need surgery.
"Just knowing that I had the support of the Heal Fund and the Charlottesville community behind me made it easier for me to come back home and be present in my life again," Bowie said.
All proceeds to the Heal Charlottesville Fund go to those survivors. If you’re interested in donating, click here.