Virginia tornado survivor arrives at NJ medical center

Photo credit: WNBC

It’s been nearly a month since a tornado swept through Cherrystone Campground on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, snapping trees and tossing RVs through the air.

Jelyn Ortega-Fallarme survived the terrifying ordeal, but lost three family members in the twister. She was camping with eight other family members, including her newlywed husband, when the storm hit.

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She returned home to Jersey City Monday and will receive treatment at a facility in Secaucus. Her husband, Niccolo Fallarme, said the storm was unlike anything he’d ever seen. “It was really incredible. the sky just got dark. The hail was… so big we couldn’t even go out.”

Niccolo Fallarme says trees toppled around them and then heard his wife calling and went to her. “So he said, ‘Babe, move’, but when I tried to move my feet, I can’t move because my bones are broken. I didn’t even know,” recounted Jelyn.

“Then I came back to my best friend, and I told him, ‘Best friend, wake up I need you,’ and he wouldn’t move,” said Niccolo.

Despite the tragedy of losing three family members in that storm, those still alive consider Jelyn’s return home a miracle.

Jelyn wears a rosary around her neck, given to her by her Aunt Lolibeth Ortega, who died in the storm. She says it is giving her the strength to survive. “She gave this to me, and I was holding it all the days in the hospital, trying to be strong because I know they’re still with me.”

Lolibeth’s husband Lord Balatbat and their 13-year-old son Lheandrew Balatbat also died when a tree fell on their tent. Their two daughters were also injured in the storm. They are getting ready to go back to school. Jelyn says their strength comes from knowing their parents, as angels, are watching from above.


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