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Strathcona Park assault survivor determined to walk again after losing leg

Click to play video: 'Strathcona attack survivor recovering after losing leg' Strathcona attack survivor recovering after losing leg
The first of two men viciously assaulted at Vancouver's Strathcona Park tent city last fall is on the road to recovery after four months in hospital and rehab. Kristen Robinson has more on Carl Sinclair's battle to come back after suffering horrific injuries – Mar 14, 2021

WARNING: Some viewers may find some details of this story disturbing.

Nearly six months after he suffered life-altering injuries, a young man who was viciously attacked at Vancouver’s Strathcona Park encampment is out of the hospital and on the road to recovery.

Click to play video: 'Another disturbing incident at Vancouver’s Strathcona Park homeless camp' Another disturbing incident at Vancouver’s Strathcona Park homeless camp
Another disturbing incident at Vancouver’s Strathcona Park homeless camp – Sep 23, 2020

Carl Sinclair considers his survival a second chance in life – and is determined to come back strong.

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“It’s a hard go but I’m getting through it,” Sinclair told Global News.

“It’s just a battle between my brain you know, fighting the bad wolf, the sad wolf.”

Last fall, the 25-year-old was working in construction and living in his own apartment – but involved in what he says was a toxic relationship.

Carl Sinclair was working in construction and had his own apartment before he ended up in Strathcona Park. Source: Facebook. Submitted

A fight with his then-girlfriend led to an assault charge, and he lost his home.

“That’s how I ended up in tent city,” said Sinclair.

“Things just went downhill from there.”

Sinclair said he started drinking and using drugs before he was assaulted overnight on Sept. 21, 2020.

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“I was blacked out so I don’t remember anything.”

After not hearing from her son for a few days, Sinclair’s mother in Kamloops started making calls and found him in Vancouver General Hospital’s intensive care unit – where he had been admitted in critical but stable condition.

Carl Sinclair in the ICU at Vancouver General Hospital after he was attacked at Strathcona Park in September 2020. Source: GoFundMe. GoFundMe

Connie Sinclair immediately travelled to Vancouver to be with her son.

“They burned him with a torch,” said Connie as she described Sinclair’s horrific injuries.

“He had broken ribs, he had a torch burn on his chest, and he had a piece of meat cut off his arm – and then had a big hole in his hand.”

Read more: Man found unresponsive in Strathcona Park homeless camp following ‘serious assault’: police

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Vancouver police say her son was laying injured in the park for up to 12 hours before anyone called 911.

 “To throw him in a tent after and just leave him there to die was just heartbreaking,” Connie told Global News.“He had been laying on his leg for over 12 hours, so that stopped the blood flow to his leg and a bit of his arm.”
Carl Sinclair in hospital, where he spent three months before being released to GF Strong for therapy. Source: Facebook.
While in hospital, Sinclair said he developed a blood clot, terrible flu, and a bad infection in his leg.“It could have killed me,” Sinclair recalled.“Lots of things could have killed me when I was in the ICU.”
Carl Sinclair in Vancouver after his left leg was amputated. Source: Facebook. Submitted
Fortunately, Sinclair survived, but his left leg had to be amputated. Doctors managed to save his left arm but he has nerve damage in some fingers, making it difficult to move his hand.“He’s fighting every day,” said Connie.Her son said it hasn’t been easy but he’s trying to stay positive.“Some days I wish I could walk and wish I could go anywhere I want but it gets pretty depressing,” Sinclair told Global News.
“Sometimes I feel alone but I just remember that people are there for me.”
His mother Connie is now splitting her time between Kamloops and Vancouver to support her son and has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help assist Sinclair financially as he recovers.Sinclair spent three months in hospital including one month in the ICU before he was released around Christmas.
Carl Sinclair was able to spend Christmas with his family after being released from hospital in December 2020. Submitted
He underwent a month of therapy at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in January and is now staying in a hotel room arranged by the Lu’ma Native Housing Society, as he undergoes outpatient therapy to strengthen his remaining leg.
“It’s heartbreaking even today sometimes to watch my son struggle,” said Connie, who wishes she could trade places with her son.
“To try to do everyday things is sometimes hard for him, and he gets frustrated so it hurts me to watch him go through that.”
Click to play video: 'Latest victim of Strathcona Park attack speaks out' Latest victim of Strathcona Park attack speaks out
Latest victim of Strathcona Park attack speaks out – Oct 28, 2020
Three weeks after Sinclair was assaulted, a Good Samaritan found another man, 46-year-old Adam Blackburn bleeding – eight hours after he was stabbed inside a tent at the homeless camp.

Read more: ‘I have nothing’: Victim of latest Strathcona Park attack details violent assault

Police calls to Strathcona Park more than doubled in June and July 2020, according to statistics provided by the Vancouver Police Department.Calls continued to soar through the late summer and fall – reaching a peak last October when there was an almost 2,000 per cent spike over the same time in 2019.VPD calls to the park declined in the months since but were still on average, 1,200 per cent higher year over year.
Police calls to Strathcona Park from January 2019 to January 2021 show the spike experienced after the encampment was established in June 2020. Source: Vancouver Police Department
Police calls to Strathcona Park from January 2019 to January 2021 show the spike experienced after the encampment was established in June 2020. Source: Vancouver Police Department. Vancouver Police Department
“I think it’s a pretty bad place,” said Sinclair.“I was only there for a week and look what happened to me.”

Read more: ‘Not a safe situation’: Staff working overtime to end Strathcona Park camp, Eby says

Connie said her son forgives his attackers and she’s hoping someone will come forward with information about what happened.
“All the bad people need to stop preying on the good people,” Connie told Global News.“It’s not right, it’s not fair.”Sinclair already has a steel rod in his right leg after it was broken when he was hit by a vehicle in a previous separate incident.
Carl Sinclair outside GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver earlier this year. Submitted
He’s now mobile thanks to a borrowed electric wheelchair, and working towards his goals of healing, sobriety and eventually losing the wheelchair.

“One day I will be able to walk again with my prosthetic leg,” Sinclair said.

“He’s got a strong spirit and I’m really proud of him for that,” added Connie.

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