OTTAWA - For 29-year-old Ottawa native Lexie York, a pleasant evening at a Cancun area resort last week, turned into a violent brush with death that changed her life forever.

York was viciously attacked in her Cancun area hotel room . Police have charged a man she met earlier that night, with a group of couples in the lobby of her resort.

“I didn’t expect him to come around once we all walked back to our rooms” she told CTV Ottawa’s Catherine Lathem by phone from her hospital room. “I never really thought it was going to be an unsafe situation”.

After he allegedly pushed his way into York’s room, she says he started attacking her.

“That’s when he started strangling me”.  She alleges the suspect beat her repeatedly on the head and face.

“I was on the floor and could barely see. It was my immediate thought to get out of that room and go look for help”, she said.  

York underwent extensive reconstructive surgery on her face after the assault, including plates placed in her cheek and mesh around one eye to help stabilize the muscles.

“I’m so thankful for the doctor who has been working with me. He did an amazing job. I’m just so thankful”, she said as her voice cracked.

Mexico City native, Ricardo Sanchez Pichardo has been charged with attempted murder.

York is a flight attendant and an experienced traveller. She had arrived in the Cancun area a day ahead of her mother. She says she will not travel alone again, but doesn’t want people to be afraid.

“I’m positive. I don’t want people to be afraid because travelling is such an amazing and great experience.  I just think, I’m still going to travel and I’m still going to enjoy everything the world has to offer even though this happened. But people just have to be extra careful”, York said.

She says the messages and donations from people across the country have been a tremendous comfort.

“It just shows that even though there’s one bad person, there are so any other good people”, she said.

“I want to start healing. I’m looking forward to coming home. I’m looking forward to getting back on track.  To everyone I just want to say, love everybody and enjoy every minute you can with each other because it could be gone in a second.”