Five years after the London Bridge terror attack claimed eight lives, the family of an Australian victim has launched a new platform to help others experiencing trauma and grief.
21-year-old Sara Zelenak from Queensland was the youngest of the victims killed on June 3, 2017 when three terrorists intentionally drove their van into pedestrians on London Bridge.
The three men then exited the vehicle and went on a stabbing rampage through nearby Borough Market.
Zelenak, who was traveling and working as a nanny in London at the time, was the youngest person to be killed in the attack.
Fellow Australian Kirsty Boden, a 28-year-old nurse, was also killed while rushing to help another victim.
Zelenak’s mother, Julie Wallace, described the news that changed her family’s lives forever and the overwhelming shock of losing her daughter.
“I honestly thought I was having a heart attack, it couldn’t be real,” Wallace said.
“I thought I was dying and I couldn’t accept that that was actually the truth.”
Wallace says the anniversary of the tragic event is the most dreaded day of the year.
“Preparing for an anniversary is a lot of anxiety for me, there are a lot of waves,” she said.
“I don’t know of any other family in Brisbane who have lost a child in a terrorist attack.
“It’s a terrible feeling, unfathomable for others to understand unless they’ve been through it themselves.”
Julie and Mark Wallace have dedicated the last five years to helping others going through traumatic grief.
Her organization, Sarz Sanctuary, named after her daughter, helps people around the world access support from qualified practitioners.
Today they launched an online healing platform connecting trauma victims around the world.
“It helps people who are experiencing traumatic grief, loss, PTSD and secondary trauma,” said Mark Wallace.
“If you’re feeling down, deep, traumatic, prolonged grief, PTSD, you need resources right away,” Julie Wallace said.
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The organization recently began offering equine therapy in Queensland.
After the February floods, Mark and Julie Wallace used their platform to help others deal with emotional trauma.
Julie Wallace said while nothing will bring her daughter back, the organization has helped alleviate some of the weight from her loss.
“I remember her beautiful smile, it lit up the room, she had so much light and touched so many hearts,” Wallace said.
“She was nice, she was sensitive.
“Life has changed forever and I will always be broken, but this is how you heal around this hole in your heart.”