'This is a Canadian hero': Group launches campaign to help buy new home for mosque shooting victim
Aymen Derbali is paralyzed after taking several bullets when he confronted shooter in last January’s attack
Aymen Derbali will never walk again.
The father of three was praying at a Quebec City mosque last Jan. 29, when an armed man walked in and opened fire.
"Aymen had seen the shooter and he kind of went toward him. He wanted to stop him from shooting others and was hit seven times," says Amira Elghawaby, a volunteer with the Canadian-Muslim non-profit community organization called DawaNet.
"There are now two bullets still lodged in his spinal cord."
Six men were killed in the attack. Derbali was in a coma for two months.
After a successful surgery, he survived. He remains a paraplegic and lives in a rehabilitation centre in the Quebec City area.
But soon he will be discharged, and the community says what he needs most is a new home.
"His family lives in a fourth-floor apartment. He cannot stay there overnight because if there were to be a fire in the building or any kind of emergency it would be very difficult to get out," Elghawaby says.
"At this point, his family doesn't know where they will live. This is a Canadian hero. This is a man who was about to sacrifice his life.…Now it's up to us and all of us as Canadians to help him and help his family."
DawaNet launched a crowdfunding campaign for Derbali two days ago.
"It was a number one priority for the community. He saved lives that night and took bullets for other people, basically."
The goal is to raise $400,000 for a wheelchair-accessible home for the family.
"They've looked at 50 houses so far, and they've settled on what they think is the right one. It was previously owned by someone who was disabled so it's mostly ready, but needs some little renovations."
Elghawaby says that if the family can't get that specific home, they will keep looking for something else in the neighbourhood.
"Aymen is still very attached to the mosque since that's where his heart is, his community is, and he has a strong sense of belonging."
The fundraising campaign runs until the end of January.
With files from CBC's Daybreak