The victim of an infamous mail bombing in Winnipeg is empathizing with what people in Humboldt are going through, stressing how support from the community and complete strangers helped her push through trauma.
Maria Mitousis lost her right hand when a package exploded in her River Avenue law office July 3, 2015.
LISTEN: ‘The timing was incredible’: Maria Mitousis on the importance of community support after tragedy
The man accused of sending the package, Guido Amsel, went on trial this past winter and a verdict is scheduled to be delivered next month.
The GoFundMe page for victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash has raised millions of dollars and messages of support have flooded in from all over the world.
Mitousis remembers being overwhelmed by gratitude after her life-altering experience.
“It’s one of the first things I remember. Waking up, my brother came to see me. He goes, ‘Maria, do you have any idea what’s going on? These messages are coming in. People are thinking about you,’ Mitousis recounted. “In that time and place, the impact, I can’t even begin to tell you how important it was.”
Mitousis said the feeling that you aren’t alone matters the most to someone who is going through something they never dreamed they would experience.
FULL COVERAGE: Humboldt Broncos bus crash
“One minute you’re golfing, like in my case, and the next you’re waking up in a hospital room. Having people be there with you, be connected with you, knowing that this is not a burden you’re carrying by yourself,” Mitousis explained.
“Being touched by that kindness, by that generosity from so many people, so immediately, made it almost impossible to focus on the bad and the negative. It really helped fill in what would have been a gap of space that might have been filled with angry thoughts.”
After Mitousis was injured, a GoFundMe effort raised over $94,000 to aid her recovery. One of the perks of crowdfunding, Mitousis said, is that it allows people to help out without feeling like they are intruding.
WATCH: Paralyzed Broncos crash victim wants to get back on the ice
“Say what you will about the internet, about being over-connected. In times like tragedy, it’s nice to know that, as a person who wants to do something, there’s a way to do that. I want people to know that, being on the receiving end, that you’ve changed me, and you’re going to change other people by supporting them. That impact, the generosity you receive, it makes you think about the future much differently. I think I’m much less cynical than I ever used to be.”