ERIE, Pa. -- The survivor of a brutal attack last week is recovering at home.
Now, Whitnie Sullivan is speaking publicly for the first time since the assault and sharing first-hand her ordeal.
"I'm doing really well, all things considered," she said Wednesday.
On July 3, Sullivan was attacked outside of Walgreens at West 38th and Peach streets as she was walking in for work.
"I kind of gave him a half-smile. I nodded at him. I looked back down and I'm not sure if it was at my phone, key, feet... He said 'you bitch,' and lunged; and I'm pretty sure that first slash was the slash to my neck."
The 21-year-old screamed for help and good Samaritans rushed to interrupt the attack and render aid. Left clinging to life, Sullivan immediately underwent surgery and treatment in UPMC Hamot's intensive care unit. She was released from the hospital Tuesday, exactly one week after the attack.
Sullivan said, "Everyday [the hospital staff] came in. They're like, 'We do this every day. You are not the norm.'"
Although her voice is weak, her spirit is strong.
"I do have a very strong faith in God, and I know that there have been people all across the U.S. that have been messaging saying 'prayers' and 'we're here for you.'"
The Utah native is pursuing a doctorate in pharmacy at LECOM. She said she has a new outlook on life as she strives to help others.
"I think it will definitely help me be a little more compassionate. Sometimes in the medical field, it can be easy to lose that compassion."
Sullivan is thanking the community, first responders, good Samaritans, LECOM, and Walgreens for the support. She is also expressing gratitude for her parents who traveled from Utah on the Fourth of July and have remained by her side.
As Sullivan recovers at home, what is Walgreens doing to ensure the safety of their employees and customers at this location?
A spokesperson told YourErie.com, "We're very concerned about this tragic incident. We're constantly evaluating our security procedures in all our locations, and will review the measures in place at this store. However, for obvious reasons we do not disclose details about specific security measures."
To follow Sullivan's road to recovery, visit the Prayers for Whit Facebook page here.
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