CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Six years ago, Aco Simonoski brutally attacked his daughter, Bilyana, and his wife, Milka Simonoski with an ace. His wife barely survived the attack in their Strongsville home. Now, still recovering, Bilyana is helping other domestic violence survivors move forward from their traumatic past.
"We have managed to overcome and create something positive from that situation," Bilyana Simonoski said.
Since the attack, Milka Simonoski has been making a valiant recovery, despite a grim early diagnosis. She continues to recover in a nursing home and struggles with verbal communication due to where she was struck with the ace. But her daughter says she has come so far in the last six years.
"They told us she would be a vegetable, but she can walk with a walker multiple times a day, say simple phrases and feed herself. She is still very much our mom and is always hugging, kissing and laughing with us," her daughter said.
Simonoski recently founded a nonprofit, Tough as Milk, to help survivors heal through yoga and self-love. The organization teaches them while they are in shelter. Based in Cleveland, they are now expanding due to a great need for survivors to learn healthy coping mechanisms. Simonoski is committed to provide a yoga mat, sports bra, top and yoga pants for every client to call their own.
"Often, a survivor must leave most of their possessions when they come into shelter and fitness items are not usually donated. This allows them to continue their practice once they leave shelter and encourages regular self-care," Simonoski said.
The program's first community awareness event is this Saturday, April 22nd. Click here for event info.
More information can also be found at the organization's website: https://www.toughasmilk.org