A 5-year-old Canadian girl who beat cancer was killed Monday after being pinned by an empty SUV — just a day shy of her one-year anniversary of finishing chemotherapy.
Camila Torcato was able to begin kindergarten in September at St. Raphael Catholic School in Toronto after she finished treatment, The Toronto Star reported. The little girl underwent a number of surgeries on her lungs and kidneys at just 2 years old, when she was diagnosed with cancer.
And though she eventually beat cancer, it was a freak accident outside her school that ultimately cut short Camila’s life. Camila’s father, Amilcar Torcato, told The Star he was picking up his daughter from school when an empty SUV raced toward them, pinning the pair against their vehicle.
Camila was rushed to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with organ failure and internal bleeding. She died Monday night.
“She was a very special girl, she had problems before, she had cancer, but she was a fighter,” Amilcar Torcato told The Toronto Star. “She was a very sweet girl, shy, but very sweet; my mind is filled with her memories.”
The distraught father, his voice breaking, told The Star he normally did not pick up his daughter from school.
“I went to pick her up in school because the day before she asked me if I could,” he said. “Usually her mom picks her up, but that day I did.”
Amilcar said his daughter almost made it to her anniversary of finishing chemotherapy.
“It would be a year now after finishing chemotherapy and this just happened yesterday,” the father said. “There are so many memories of playing with her, and going with her to places she liked to go to like the beach, playing in the snow, outside, she liked being outside all the time.”
Amilcar said people need to be careful with their cars and making sure they are in park when leaving the vehicles running.
“I want people to just be careful with parking the cars around schools. Make sure you stop the motor, and to not go out without stopping the motor,” Amilcar said. “This could happen again. Yesterday it was her, tomorrow, it can be another child.”
The school had grief counselors on hand Tuesday to help staff and students cope.
Sandra Taglieri, who has two children who attend the Catholic school, told The Toronto Star that Camila’s death was “a tragedy.”
“I have — I’m going to choke up, it’s so horrible — my children, same age,” Taglieri said. “And as a community, you come together and you’re affected by it. It’s tragedy. No words. I don’t know how to explain it.”
The school announced it was working on making a memorial table in Camila’s honor.
Police have not charged anyone in connection with Camila’s death. Toronto Police declined to say if they interviewed the driver of the SUV.
“A beautiful 5-year-old girl is dead. We are investigating that to the very best of our ability,” Toronto Police Superintendent Scott Baptist said.
Camila’s friends and family have created a GoFundMe to help the Torcato family deal with financial stress.