A mother was left fighting for her life after she stepped in between a knifeman and her daughter and was stabbed through her left breast.
Tracy Larkowski had to be resuscitated twice after the thug plunged a blade into her left breast, shattering several ribs and puncturing her lung.
The random attack happened outside a supermarket at around 8pm when she went to pick up her 15-year-old daughter, Shakira.
The 37-year-old mother of nine claims the unknown man ‘came out of nowhere’ and lunged towards her daughter, so she pushed the teenager out of the way, in Basildon, Essex.
Tracy Larkowski pushed daughter Shakira (both pictured) out of the way when she saw an attacker with a knife going straight for her
After the blade went through her body and out the other side, Ms Larkowski’s friend bundled her into the car and rushed her to the hospital where she ‘died’ twice.
A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent and was later released under investigation, pending further enquiries.
As she recovers from the attack, the chef is calling on authorities to do more to tackle knife crime.
‘I died twice in A&E,’ she said. ‘My chest needed draining and my lung had to be re-inflated.
Doctors inserted a plastic drain at the exit wound in order to drain the blood from her lungs after the sickening attack
‘My left lung had collapsed and needed to be stitched up just under my heart. He aimed for my heart.
‘How I’m still alive I will never know. There must have been a guardian angel looking over me that day.
‘I feel so lucky. I don’t know how I am still alive, even my surgeon said that. We need to set up a knife programme in Basildon to try and educate as many people as possible.
‘It’s not just the person who has been stabbed who is affected by this terrible behaviour. It’s also the family and friends and the little children waiting for you to return home.’
She and her friend Paul, 50, drove to collect Shakira from outside the Co-op on October 7 because the teenager was scared when someone picked a fight with her friend.
The mother and daughter were walking back to the car when another person ‘came out of nowhere’.
Ms Larkowski said: ‘He went straight for my daughter. I saw his knife before I saw his face and he had every intention to stab my baby girl.’
Instinct took over and she pushed her daughter – knocking her out of the way and to the floor.
Ms Larkowski died twice in the hospital after the knifeman went for her daughter
‘Before I realised, before I had a chance to turn around or run away, he stuck the knife through my back and ran off,’ said Tracy, who said nobody in the family recognised the man.
The blade sliced through her left breast, shattered several ribs, punctured her lung and just missed her heart before creating a gruesome exit hole.
Tracy said her lung began to fill with blood and she faced a life-or-death race to hospital.
‘I felt it bubbling with blood. I didn’t scream because the pain was phenomenal’, she said.
‘It was the worst feeling in the world. My lung was filling up with blood and I tried keep breathing. I was in agony.’
She was rushed to Basildon University Hospital which was just four minutes away. Paul pulled into the A&E’s ambulance drop off zone and called out for help.
Tracy says all she can remember is ‘coughing up blood’ and seeing blood at her feet in hospital.
She had to be resuscitated twice after losing pints of blood through open wounds in her chest, she said.
‘If I had waited for an ambulance I probably would have bled out on the street,’ she said.
Doctors inserted a plastic drain into Tracy’s lung to drain out the blood and she still requires weekly check-ups at hospital to monitor her breathing.
Tracy spent more than three weeks in hospital and had two operations and four blood transfusions.
Tracy added: ‘When I first woke up, it was the worst feeling I had ever felt. I never want anyone to go through what I have done.
‘I didn’t expect to wake up. I have thought about it and I can’t believe how lucky I am to still be here. My babies are my everything and it breaks my heart every time I think about it.’
Ms Larkowski is still recovering from the horrific assault and faces months of being unable to work and support her young family.
She says that she still relives the terrifying moment she was stabbed every time she closes her eyes at night.
‘It’s like a living hell for me,’ she said. ‘Every time I close my eyes I do relive it. I suffer with anxiety. It really has been horrible.
‘I can’t go out on my own and I will be recovering for a long time. I’ve gone from being a working mum to being on benefits. It’s going to be a massive struggle financially.’
She said she will be ‘forever grateful’ to the surgeons, doctors and medics who saved her life.
‘I can’t thank them enough and I couldn’t possibly repay them,’ she said. ‘I can’t fault them at all. The care I have had has been incredible. I just feel so lucky.’
An Essex Police spokesperson said: ‘A 22-year-old man from Basildon was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent at around 4.10am the following morning and was later released under investigation, pending further enquiries.’
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