North Texas woman returns home to continue her recovery following building collapse

A North Texas woman is on a journey towards a remarkable recovery after a serious accident put her in the hospital for months.

Sonya Bandouil is a classically trained pianist who was walking around Boston in November, when part of a building façade collapsed, burying her in rubble.

She survived, but along with several serious injuries, one of her hands was mangled in the collapse.

After months of rehabilitation in Boston, Bandouil is finally back home. Despite many challenges, she’s ready to move forward.

For Bandouil, playing piano was pretty much love at first sight.

She’s been playing since she was 5 years old.

“It was so much fun for me and I loved being on stage,” Bandouil said.

She moved to New York City in 2017 to pursue a career in music.

Her life forever changed on November 4, 2018, when she and her boyfriend went for a weekend trip to Boston.

They were walking by a building on Allston, when it collapsed on top of them.

”Nobody should ever go through what I saw,” Bandouil’s boyfriend, Alex Pankiewicz, said, “The condition she was in. Blood all over the concrete, hand mangled, swollen everything.”

Bandouil doesn’t remember much of the collapse. She woke up groggy in a hospital bed weeks later.

“Everything was still really foggy. I just remember waking up pretty confused. I didn’t really know what happened,” she added.

Her jaw was wired shut and multiple ribs were fractured, along with her foot, pelvis, left elbow, and more.

But on top of all that, Bandouil’s right hand - which she used to glide seemingly and effortlessly across piano keys so many times - had been crushed in the collapse.

Her middle finger had to be amputated and her index finger had to be reconstructed.

“At first, of course, I was thinking, ‘OK, this is it. How can I play?’ I learned my whole life with five fingers. How am I going to readjust?” Bandouil said.

But through encouragement from her loved ones, she slowly has been relearning simple everyday tasks, like grabbing things, and even playing the piano.

“You can’t really change the situation,” she said. “So the best thing is to try to change your outlook on everything.”

“I think she’s the strongest woman on this planet,” her boyfriend added. “Given what she went through, to have such a strength, to have such a resilience.”

Bandouil has been through months of rehab, and will go through several months more, but she has her sights set on returning to New York someday to achieve her goals.

“It would be nice to just go back in time and change everything, but sometimes that’s not possible. The only thing you can do is just try to look at things differently,” she concluded.