Woman stabbed during downtown London melee July 25 opened up to The Free Press about the incident

Sitting on the curb outside the Goodwill centre near downtown London, blood pouring down her body, she said she felt the will to live for the first time in years.

She’d been stabbed in the neck in a shocking attack in broad daylight outside the Goodwill Community Store and Donation Centre, then hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

Now, two weeks later and out of hospital, the woman says it was a moment that changed her outlook on life after nearly a decade of struggles with drug addiction and a recent brush with the law.

“My whole life it was hard for me to get out of bed every morning and want to live, and for the first time in my 26years, I was actually fighting to live and trying not to die,” said Lexie, who did not want her last name used, saying she wants to protect her daughter’s privacy.

“It was scary. Very scary,” she said of the July 25 dramatics.

Released from jail three weeks earlier, the woman said she’d spent 3½ months behind bars for theft and possession of stolen property and breaches of probation and court conditions. In jail, she said, she became clean of drugs.

She said she was with her boyfriend that day when a shouting match broke out with another man. That led to a scuffle and the other man drawing a knife. She said she knows her attacker.

“I said, ‘If you’re going to stab someone, then stab me, you’re not stabbing my boyfriend,’ and he ... swung and stabbed me right here,” Lexie said, pointing to her neck.

“I put my hands to my neck right away and went and sat down on the curb,” she said. “Every time I tried to breathe, I could feel the air flapping my skin ... It was bad. I was choking on blood.”

The brazen daytime attack reportedly brought out the best in people who rushed to help, performing first aid, using a shirt to staunch the bleeding and calming bystanders at the busy location.

The woman said she doesn’t remember it like that, that she tried to close the wound with her own hands before someone on the sidewalk gave her a jean vest to cover it. “Nobody was doing anything,” she said.

She said the ambulance arrived quickly, but it felt like forever for the paramedics to remove a stretcher from the back, so she walked into the back herself.

She said she spent a week in the hospital, including five days in intensive care, and had a tracheotomy — a tube running through her neck to let her breathe properly.

“That was the scariest moment of my life,” she said of the surgery.

The scar forming on her neck stretches under her chin. It took 18 stitches to close, she said.

“I’m shocked at how lucky I was. Especially for a neck wound, you don’t hear about people surviving that too often.”

Lexie said her mother thought she was going to die, and her 10-year-old daughter doesn’t know she was stabbed.

She said she’s trying to be a new person now.

“I was fighting to stay away and to keep myself from dying. I was begging for (the doctors) to save my life instead of hoping that it would end. So it’s nice. It’s a new outlook; it’s a lot more positive.”

Hashim Peters is charged with aggravated assault and possessing a dangerous weapon.

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