Blinded student returns to UBC for treatment
Hope remains that Rumana Monzur's eyesight can be partially restored
A University of British Columbia student who was brutally attacked during a trip home in Bangladesh is back in Canada, and says she hasn't given up hope she'll be able to see again.
Rumana Monzur's eyes were gouged and her face disfigured in an assault that Indian doctors said may have left her permanently blind.
The 33-year-old master's student arrived back in Vancouver Tuesday with her father.
Monzur's next stop is a local hospital where she will be assessed by ophthalmology specialists.
Monzur, speaking softly through tears, said she still has hope doctors in Canada will be able to treat her eyes and she may one day see again.
"My eyes are not in a good situation and the only hope that UBC doctors will treat me, so that's the hope and for that I want your prayers," she said.
She said she still plans to finish her master's degree and wants to eventually complete a PhD.
Monzur's husband, Hasan Sayeed Sumon, is in jail in Bangladesh facing charges of attempted murder in connection with the attack on her June 5.
Monzur told a news conference last week that her five-year-old daughter witnessed the assault.
$35,000 raised for treatment
De Ruiter said rallying in recent weeks by Monzur's Vancouver friends and colleagues is paying off. Students and staff at UBC have already raised $35,000 to pay for her treatment and help support her family for the next six months.
The university is involved in an international medical relief effort to help her regain at least some of her vision, deRuiter said.
"UBC is doing everything and it's scheduling medical treatment for her eyes to try to see if they can restore her eyesight in one of her eyes," de Ruiter said. "So that was one of the reasons she's coming back already to Vancouver."
Doctors in Bangladesh said one eye is permanently damaged. The other is not responding to light, but there's hope it can be partially repaired.
"I want to thank all those who have responded so generously," said UBC President Stephen Toope. "I know Canadians will continue to respond and help provide the support Ms. Monzur and her family need."
Toope said the school hopes to raise a total of $70,000 to support Monzur and her family during her treatment.
With files from The Canadian Press and the CBC's Meera Bains