August 11, 2019 5:30 pm
Updated: August 11, 2019 6:40 pm

Airdrie community hosts fundraiser for woman who had fingers severed in domestic attack

WATCH: People in Airdrie are rallying around a woman who was the victim of a horrific domestic attack in June. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, the woman, who suffered life-altering injuries, is hoping her story will encourage others dealing with domestic abuse to come forward.

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Dawn Warden had just been released from hospital after yet another surgery. Her fingers were severed when she was attacked in her own apartment on June 9.

“All my fingers except for my thumb were severed. I lost three.

“I had a nerve severed on my face. My ear was cut off and they reattached that,” said Warden on Sunday.

Her right arm was cut twice with gashes to the bone.

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READ MORE: Women who rushed to Airdrie victim’s aid traumatized by violent scene: ‘It was a horror movie’

A man is alleged to have lit a fire in the apartment before leaving. The person accused of attacking Warden is her ex-boyfriend.

“I have a big thing for mental health and domestic violence just because I think everything goes hand in hand,” Warden said.

On Sunday, friends and strangers came together for a charity ride and poker run fundraiser in Airdrie for Warden and her son.

Organizers hope the loud display of motorbikes draws attention to their cause and gets people talking about domestic abuse.

“It’s not shameful. It’s a discussion that needs to be had,” said long-time friend and organizer, Nadene Wood.

“So the more bikes we get on the road, the more people we get talking, the better off every single survivor out there is. I want to make it so no one ever has to go through this again.

“And if they do go through it, then they know there is a massive community out there who is standing behind them, who are ready to pick them up and help them back on their feet and surround them with love and protection and let them know this isn’t OK,” Wood said.

READ MORE: Man charged with attempted murder after injured woman found in Airdrie apartment fire

Jon Graham was honored to be asked to take part in the ride.

The Calgarian founded the Against All Abuse support group after his cousin was killed in random attack in Fort St John in 2012.

“When you go to these events, the people who are involved are some of the best people you’ll ever meet.

“To see the impact on the victims, the smile they get that day…” Graham said.

READ MORE: Crisis calls to Alberta women’s shelters up 10% in 2 years

Surgeons were able to reattach some of Warden’s fingers. She hopes doing advocacy work will help her deal with the trauma of the attack and of losing her oldest son to an accidental drug overdose in 2018.

“This kind of, in a weird way, brought me out of a depression. My son passed away last year and I did not deal with that well. I literally closed myself away from everybody and I just kind of existed,” Warden said.

Colin Dennis Ayorech now faces charges of attempted murder and arson.

Warden says the show of support in her community is a big part of her healing.

“I can’t believe this. I lived in Airdrie for over 34 years and it’s a great place to live. It’s home, but this is more than I could expect.”

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