• Woman critically injured in Allston facade collapse shares road to recovery

    By: Christine McCarthy

    Updated:

    Despite having her hand crushed and losing a finger during a partial building collapse in Allston last November, an aspiring professional pianist is still pursuing her dreams.

    Sonya Bandouil's life changed last fall during a trip from New York to Boston, when she was trapped in debris after the facade of a building collapsed.

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    Surveillance video from the day shows Bandouil and her boyfriend Alex Pankiewicz walking along an Allston sidewalk as the facade collapses, sending her into a coma with a broken jaw, foot, ribs and pelvis, among other fractures and internal bleeding.

    "I didn't even know if she was going to be alive or dead," Pankiewicz said.

    But, the most devastating injury during the incident left her right hand crushed and her middle finger amputated.

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    "The hand, that was when I was really in shock," Bandouil said. "I think that didn't register for another few weeks."

    Bandouil's future, with dreams of becoming a professional pianist, suddenly seemed impossible.

    She'd been playing piano since she was five, recently moving to New York and now living in Texas with her family during her recovery, picking up gigs and teaching piano classes.

    "At first, I was thinking, 'Okay, this is it,'" Bandouil said. "'How can I play? I learned my whole life with five fingers, so how am I going to readjust?'"

    It took weeks, but while re-learning to walk and beginning to talk again at Spaulding Rehab, Bandouil finally tried playing again.

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    "I think, maybe I shouldn't even bother because it's so frustrating," Bandouil said. "But, then I think about how it's my passion."

    While her recovery will be a long journey, her spirit is unbreakable.

    "She is a pianist, she always was a pianist," Pankiewicz said. "To stay motivated, to keep going. I've never seen anything like that."

    Bandouil is playing easier pieces and plans to take piano lessons, and said she hopes to still have a career in music. 

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