MARSHALL - "It was a normal day on April 19th, 2012, at 4 p.m. I was getting into my car as I was leaving work to go to class with my backpack, purse and dinner in hand. All of the sudden, there was someone behind me and a hard object to my throat. I thought it was a joke, but when I went to grab the object, I cut my thumb. It was a knife. The man behind me whispered, 'We are going for a ride,'" Angela Champagne-From said at the beginning of her presentation in Marshall on Sunday.
Champagne-From, 29, was in Marshall to advocate her "Fight Like a Girl: Angela's Story" campaign. She was forced to fight for her life on that April afternoon and is now sharing her story.
"I went to scream and he put his hand to my mouth. I bit him so hard it pushed my gums down. That is when he stabbed me in the abdomen. I stomped on his toes and did everything in my power to get free. When I did, I asked what it was that he wanted, but he just turned, walked away and told me, 'You're lucky you're a fighter,'" Champagne-From said.
Her attacker did not look any different from any other person who would be entering her office building that day. He was a white male wearing a business suit with a receding hair line.
"I grabbed my phone and dialed 911. As I tried telling the dispatcher many times where I was at, I ran down four flights of stairs and contacted the toll booth person before I collapsed. Only later did I find out that the ambulance couldn't find me right away. I lost a lot of blood, and didn't wake up until after surgery in the hospital," Champagne-From said.
The stab wound was 10 inches deep and required plenty of medical attention. It was three days before Champagne-From had any mobility. She describes her scars as her "badges of honor."
"I was so thankful for all of the emotional support I had during recovery," she said. "I didn't have to face my attacker until after I had had months of therapy and no longer felt any emotional attachment to the attack," Champagne-From said.
"This attack has changed my life. I have had to deal with post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety along with my physical injuries. I still am paranoid about being by myself and have not spent one night alone since then," Champagne-From said.
Despite the attack, she has come out strong. Her life has taken a positive direction. She graduated from Hamline University this spring, where she majored in legal studies and women's studies. She works as a paralegal full time and has a part time job at Macy's. Last December, she married Adam From, who was her boyfriend at the time of the attack.
"I am really focused on my 'Fight Like a Girl' program. I want girls and women to know that if I can survive, they can, too," Champagne-From said.
Meaghan Harrahy, Kassidy Tocco, Paige Weber and Alysia Rupp were the Growing and Going girls of Marshall who brought Champagne-From to present to the community.