SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey woman who was seriously injured during a tornado while vacationing in Virginia was back at home on Monday night.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, while members of Jelyn Ortega Fallarme’s family were killed, she survived.
“I still feel that I’m lucky because I’m alive,” she said.
It was a bittersweet homecoming for Jelyn as she embraced her husband in Secaucus. The 21-year-old newlywed survived a tornado that struck her family’s campsite in Virginia.
Her aunt Lolibeth Ortega, uncle Lord Balatbat, and 13-year-old cousin Lheandrew were killed.
“When I woke up after the tornado happened, I was next to my uncle Lord Balatbat and my cousin Lheandrew. I saw them. They’re bleeding a lot and they’re not awake,” she said.
Huge tree branches crushed Fallarme. She suffered a fractured pelvis and shoulder, as well as a spinal injury. She said that her family had no time to protect themselves.
“We all know that there’s a thunderstorm coming, but we don’t know that there’s hail and a tornado that’s gonna come. We don’t even get any alarm or warning,” she recalled.
Her husband had only one explanation for his wife’s survival.
“For me, it’s a miracle,” he said.
Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health transported Fallarme from Virginia and Alaris Health is providing in-patient rehabilitation for free.
Fallarme said that the overwhelming support has pulled her through, and that she is motivated by her love for her husband and young cousins who also survived the tornado’s wrath.
“I’m trying to be strong. Not just for my husband, but for my two cousins Lhariza and Lheana because I love them so much,” she said.
Fallarme said that she hopes to be back on her feet and walking in 6 to 8 months.
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