A Surrey women’s soccer club is raising funds to support a teammate who survived a brutal attack last week during which her throat was slit.
The 21-year-old woman has been in hospital since Feb. 7, when she escaped from an apartment in the 13400 block of 108 Avenue where she was allegedly bound, stabbed and sexually assaulted.
She was only able to flee when neighbours heard her cries for help. (The Leader is not naming the woman as she may have been the victim of a sexual assault).
Though they had heard about the incident on the news, it wasn’t until five days later that members of the SFC (Surrey Football Club) Rangers realized it was their teammate.
They went to visit her the next day.
“It was obviously really hard to see her like that,” said friend Simrit Parmar, 21. “It was an emotional visit.”
Parmar said the woman came to Canada as a refugee from Gambia last summer. Because she’d grown up playing soccer, she was eager to continue playing in her new country. She tried out for the Rangers in September and made the team, quickly making her mark as a high-scoring striker for the squad.
“She was an amazing addition to our team,” said Parmar, adding her soccer skills only complement her character. “She’s just overall a great person. She has a very bubbly personality and is very easy to talk to.”
The team of 19- to 23-year-olds has since set up a GoFundMe account to help support their friend, who has no family here. In two days, the campaign raised more than $17,000.
Parmar said they told the woman about the fundraiser earlier this week, which brought her to tears. In just days, Parmar said, her friend’s condition has improved immensely.
By mid-week, she was laughing with friends and though unable to speak because of a tube in her throat, she was able to communicate by mouthing words, gesturing and writing on a white board.
“She totally beat the odds,” said Parmar. “No one would have thought that anybody would come back from the injuries she sustained.”
While her teammates have talked about the irony of her facing such violence after having come to Canada to escape hardship in Africa, Parmar said their friend has been nothing but positive.
“Honestly, the only thing she’s expressed is how grateful she is for the all the support she’s getting.”
Kris Kelly, 22, was arrested following last week’s attack and is charged with attempted murder, unlawful confinement and aggravated sexual assault.
To donate to the GoFundMe campaign, visit https://www.gofundme.com/ypp3qhhg
Parmar said Surrey United Soccer Club is also planning a tournament – in which the SFC Rangers will participate – where all funds raised will be donated to anti-violence against women initiatives.