He embodied the best of humanity during one of the most horrific moments in the city’s history.
Rob Greco was one of several who came to the assistance of pedestrians who had been struck by a van on a stretch of Yonge Street in North York back on April 23. Greco stopped to comfort and hold the hand of Anne Marie D’Amico who lay dying on the sidewalk until paramedics took her to the hospital. She later succumbed to his injuries.
Now Greco is the one who who needs help. Three months later, he is suffering from PTSD and fighting a system that let him fall through the cracks.
“It’s life altering,” says Greco of the emotions he is struggling to deal with on a daily basis.
“The second I go to sleep my brain kicks into overdrive, thinking about what happened what I witnessed. I just start thinking crazy things sometime. I’m embarrassed to say it, suicide was a thought on more than one occasion, just trying to stop the feelings that I was feeling.”
In the days following the attack which claimed the lives of 10 people and injured 16 others, the city told people to call Victim Services. Greco says he’s been trying to get the counselling that was promised but has hit several road blocks on the way to recovery.
“I’ve tried several times and it’s always been, we’ll call you back in two weeks,” he said. “And if you don’t hear from so-and-so call me back. It’s always been two weeks, two weeks, two weeks.”
Greco has been told he will need therapy every week for at least the next two years. And at $220 a session, he simply can’t afford it. Only after his girlfriend posted a scathing rebuke on Facebook, calling on all levels of government for help, was Greco given access to $2,000 for therapy from Victim Services. But he’s already used most of that money. He may also be eligible to apply for funding from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, but that to would be capped.
“I’m just wondering how a person like me, who happened to be there, is falling through the cracks and the city is not recognizing people need help.”
After numerous follow up calls to the city and Victim Services, Greco recieved word Friday that his therapy would be covered indefinitely. In a statement to CityNews, the mayor’s office said, “we will make sure the City will fix any gaps in services identified in the wake of this tragedy.”
Despite Greco’s painful struggle to receive help, he says he wouldn’t think twice to do it again.
“I’ve never regretted it. I would do it again today for another stranger.”