May 31, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
A GoFundMe page has raised nearly $250,000 for a Jackson Heights woman who was pushed head-first against a moving train in Manhattan last month, leaving her with life-changing neck and spinal injuries.
The fund was established for 35-year-old Emine Ozsoy, a graphic designer and barista who was on her way to work at around 6:05 a.m on May 21 when a man — who is believed to be homeless — approached her from behind and shoved her inside the Lexington Avenue/63rd Street Station, according to police and the GoFundMe page.
The push, which authorities say was a random attack, caused Emine’s head to smash against an E train that was departing the station. She suffered devastating injuries and is paralyzed below her neck.
Emine’s injuries also include a cervical spine fracture, broken fingers, a scalp laceration and damage to four major blood vessels, according to published reports.
The suspect in the case, Kamal Semrade, fled the scene but was arrested by police two days later and charged with attempted murder and assault, cops said.
Semrade had allegedly boarded the same train as Emine in Queens that morning and then walked up behind her on the platform after she disembarked, according to NBC News, citing the criminal complaint.
He then “grabbed her head with both his hands and shoved her with all his force into the moving subway car,” according to the complaint. Prosecutors say her face and head hit the train, then her body rolled alongside it and crashed back to the platform.
Emine’s medical bills quickly topped six figures, according to her colleagues at the café where she works who set up the GoFundMe. The online fundraiser was established on May 22 to help her family cover the costs of her hefty hospital bills.
The GoFundMe has brought in nearly $250,000 from around 165 donors since it officially launched – with a target of $2 million.
The organizers describe Emine as a “kind, beautiful soul.”
Ozsoy is originally from Turkey and has lived in the U.S. since emigrating here in 2017 with her husband Ferdi Oszoy, 37. They reside in Jackson Heights.
Ferdi took to the GoFundMe page to post a heartfelt message describing his wife, her talents and their story of moving to America together in search of a better life. He also called on the mayor to improve subway safety.
Ferdi said that Emine is an award-winning artist, illustrator and painter whose work has
appeared in many magazines. She has also worked and clients such as Airbnb, Puma, Chicago Magazine and Maroon 5.
He also posted a number of designs and paintings she has created.
“She’s creative, she’s empathetic, she’s a warrior, she’s a true friend who goes out of her way to help people,” Ferdi wrote.” She is a person who has strength, who has resolve, who is determined.”
He said his wife would often visit city galleries and take long walks along streets such as Fifth Avenue which fueled her creative spirit — but that has now been taken from her.
Emine will need constant care, Ferdi said, and he is working on trying to get emergency visas for family members to come to New York to assist her. He also appealed for people to donate to the fundraiser.
“Emine will have a long recovery journey, which will hinder her ability to continue working as an artist,” he wrote. “In order to assist with her medical expenses and the necessary care she requires, we are raising funds to support her during this challenging time. We need all the help we can get.”
To donate to the GoFundMe campaign, visit gofundme.com/f/help-emines-recovery-from-a-tragic-attack.