She was stabbed in the neck by a terrorist in a murderous rampage on the streets of London, but Australian woman Candice Hedge is determined to stay strong in the face of terrorism.
“We can’t let our lives be ruled by fear. We can’t be scared, what’s the point in life if we’re scared everyday?” Candice told Melissa Doyle in an exclusive Sunday Night interview.
“I’m not going to let them change my life.”
Candice is recovering in intensive care after surgery to repair a deep stab wound to her throat. It’s difficult for her to talk, but she has a story she wants to tell.
Last Saturday night, Candice and her boyfriend, Luke, were working together at Elliot’s Café, a restaurant in the Borough Market district.
Just before 10pm, three men in a van ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians on London Bridge.
The vehicle continued down Borough Hills Street before crashing into a pub near Elliot’s Café.
Armed with knives, the three men began stabbing innocent members of the public at random, making their way closer and closer to the restaurant.
“No more than 15 metres away there were two guys waving around knives, one of them had a fairly big machete in his hand,” Luke said.
He rushed to protect the staff and customers, ushering them downstairs to the kitchen. But when he couldn’t find Candice, he quickly realised she was still upstairs.
In the chaos of the invasion, the unthinkable happened; Candice had been stabbed.
“It really happened quite quickly, they didn’t stick around for too long. As he [the terrorist] turned to leave he saw me there and just went in for the quick jab and got me right in the neck,” Candice said.
The knife came within millimetres of her jugular vein and narrowly missed her vocal chords.
“I could feel the amount of blood and it was warm on my hand and I was vomiting blood, quite a bit, like three of four times just because it kept coming.
“And I could see how much it was and, you know, you see horror movies – it was like that. I was thinking for a moment that I wasn’t going to make it.”
At 10:16pm, not long after their reign of terror began, a team of heavily armed police officers surrounded the suspects, ending the attack in a hail of police gunfire.
The carnage was over, but the bloodshed the terrorists had caused was devastating.
Eight people had been killed, including Australians Kirsty Boden and Sara Zelenak. Like Candice, both were working and living in London.
Although she will be left with a scar, Candice is choosing to use it as a reminder of how fortunate she is to have survived a terror attack.
“I feel so lucky knowing others were not so fortunate,” she said. “I just want to try and be as positive as I can about a pretty bad situation.”
To donate to Candice and her family, visit her GoFundMe page