‘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

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)

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

(Ty Hainsworth / Facebook)
No injuries after fire rips through Saran Fruit Market near Oliver

A fruit stand caught fire Tuesday afternoon

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

Trixie, an Elf on a Shelf like the one pictured here, will hiding around Osoyoos' parks in December. (Contributed)
Can you find Trixie the Elf in Osoyoos?

The elf has left the shelf to hide in the parks around town

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Garage in Kelowna burns to the ground, blaze deemed suspicious

Fire crews responded to the scene just after 4:30 p.m.

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

A major reconstruction project on 32nd Avenue is nearing completion and the road is now re-opened to traffic between 33rd Street and 35th Street. (City of Vernon photo)
ROAD REPORT: More roundabouts coming to North Okanagan

New intersection lights up Dec. 13, 30th Street paving delayed, PV Road completed in Vernon

In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, families stay at a temporary evacuation center at Catanduanes province, eastern Philippines, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, as Typhoon Goni hits the country. Families living near coastal towns have moved to evacuation centers as the strong typhoon makes landfall. (Philippine Red Cross via AP)
Okanagan community group organizes fundraiser for typhoon-hit Philippines

Over two million people have been affected by flooding, with about 500,000 forced to leave homes

O’Rourkes Peak Cellars is located in Lake Country, B.C. (Contributed)
Lake Country winery temporarily closes due to possible COVID-19 exposure

The establishment plans to reopen on Dec. 4 after a deep clean

Most Read