‘Please pray for our Bahamasland,’ Canadian victim wrote before Dorian hit

Windsor, Ont., native was one of at least 20 people killed during the hurricane

Alishia Liolli in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Alysha Cardinale-Soderberg

Hours before hurricane Dorian pounded the Bahamas and obliterated entire neighbourhoods, Alishia Sabrina Liolli asked her friends and loved ones on social media to pray for her family and the small island she called home.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified; but the dogs, chickens, husband & children are inside and everything is batted down the best we could!” the 27-year-old Ontario woman wrote on Facebook at 11:42 p.m. on Saturday, just before the full thrust of the storm hit. “I love you all — please pray for our Bahamasland, especially our Abaco. We will keep everyone updated as best we can!”

In the hours and days since Dorian hit, her friends and family desperately tried to reach Liolli, fearing the worst.

On Thursday, Liolli was confirmed to be one of at least 20 people killed during the storm.

Liolli’s family took to social media to express their shock and sadness at the news.

“Can’t believe this is real … a life taken too soon,” her cousin, Aislinn Liolli, said in a Facebook post. “I lost my best friend, my confidante, my rock, my person. Alishia you were a ray of sunshine, always grateful, would give the shirt off your back to anyone. You made the world a better place.”

Alishia was ”always smiling, always joking, able to make anyone feel better,” Aislinn Liolli said.

Childhood friend Alysha Cardinale-Soderberg said she was “numb” after hearing about Liolli’s death.

“I just don’t know how to deal with it,” she said in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press.

Alishia Sabrina Liolli grew up in a small town near Windsor, Ont., and met Cardinale-Soderberg when the two were nine years old.

The pair was inseparable — going to elementary school and high school together before parting ways for university.

Ryan McKenna, another friend, said he first met Liolli at Toronto’s Ryerson University. As a residence adviser and slightly older than the incoming first-year students, Alishia was the de facto leader of the floor at Pittman Hall, a student residence at the university, McKenna said.

“I always called her ‘mom,’” he said. “She was always looking after me, an 18-year-old kid from P.E.I in the big city for the first time.”

Liolli moved to the Bahamas in 2013 to volunteer at Every Child Counts, a vocational school that helps children with autism. She later helped build a new school with the organization and has since been running the program that helps adults with autism.

Her husband and the children all survived, Cardinale-Soderberg said.

The family has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to bring Liolli’s body to Canada. Any extra money raised would be used to help rebuild the school where she worked, which was heavily damaged in the storm.

Hurricane Dorian continues to pummel the east coast of the United States and is expected to hit Canada’s Atlantic provinces by the weekend.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Extensive damage and destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian is seen in an area called “The Mud” at Marsh Harbour in Great Abaco Island, Bahamas on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Visitor to Kamloops army club tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The individual visited Anavets 290 Army and Navy Club between March 13 and March 17

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

CN suspending service between Williams Lake and Squamish, effective April 3

Rail traffic north of Williams Lake will be routed to Vancouver through Prince George and Kamloops

COVID-19: Interior Health orders closure of all fitness centres until May 30

The order is subject to revision, cancellation, or extension

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read