Westport woman seriously injured in nor’easter works toward recovery

Posted: Updated:
WESTPORT -

A Westport woman's strength and determination is pushing her forward after the unthinkable.

A nor'easter hit western Connecticut on March 7, leaving about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Victoria Gouletas and her husband, Troy Burk, heard lots of crackling and noticed that a tree was on their fence. They went out to inspect the yard, and Gouletas was hit by a tree branch, pinning her in the snow.

First responders had a hard time even getting to her because of the number of trees and wires blocking roads. Gouletas says it took 25 people about 45 minutes to get her out of the snow. She underwent a four-hour surgery the next day.

"I have three fractures on my spine from it as well as a partial severing of my spinal cord," Gouletas says. "They said my prognosis was that it would be unlikely that I would ever walk again."

MORE: Community rallies around Westport woman paralyzed during nor'easter

She's back home after six weeks in the hospital. Physical therapy is now part of her daily routine as she still lacks feeling in large swaths of her body. When it comes to her range of vision, she's determined to not focus on the past.

"I almost died that night and I think I'm really lucky to be alive," she says. And lucky to wake up another day and spend it with her kids: 11-year-old Ana, 9-year-old Tafe and 2-year-old Zoe.

Gouletas says she's also grateful for the outpouring of support from the community. By Tuesday evening, a GoFundMe page raised more than $200,000 toward the family's $250,000 goal. It's money that's needed as insurance is uncertain and Gouletas is on leave from her job as a real estate attorney.

"It has warmed my heart," she says. "I feel very fortunate."

Gouletas is working toward being more independent and is optimistic that she'll beat the odds and walk again.

The Gouletas-Burk family also needs to sell their home and move to a ranch-style house, but they plan to stay in Westport.

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