West Side bike path terror attack survivor documents painful, inspirational recovery

Saturday, May 26, 2018
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LOWER MANHATTAN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Rachel Pharn survived the deadliest terror attack in New York City since September 11th. She and a friend documented her painful, but inspirational road to recovery.

For Pharn, 26, the scars from the West Side Highway bike path terror attack are not just physical - she has a crushed foot and a badly bruised arm, they are also emotional.

"It has completely changed my daily life," she said.

Pharn is also more aware these days of the love in her life - even in the middle of a violent world.

"All these tragedies like bring me to tears now. Every time I watch the news and I think about the people who died, like I didn't," she says.

The Halloween terrorist attack on the West Side bike path left eight people dead and 11 hurt, including Pharn, a California native, schoolteacher and NYU grad, who watched in horror on her own bike.

"I feel so blessed to be alive now, realizing we live in such a progressive country compared to the rest of the world," Pharn said.

Her story is now captured in an eight-minute documentary, 'A Letter to My Terrorist,' put together by her friend, and filmmaker Meera Joshi, 27.

"The way she was very thoughtfully grappling with what happened to her was very moving to me," says Joshi.

Pharn said she has no forgiveness for her attacker, at least not yet. Just sympathy.

Seven months later, she does not want to be a victim, but instead, a force for good after surviving evil.

"I do everything that I can to promote understanding and compassion and love. I want to do something for the world," she adds.


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