A Long Island college student is recovering from a horrific acid attack in front of her home that left her with severe injuries. The assault took place March 17 as Nafiah Ikram, a 21-year-old junior at Hofstra University, arrived home in Elmont after work. Ikram says she saw a man watching from the corner. Surveillance video shows him running up behind her as she walked from her car toward the home's entrance, leaning into her, then dashing away. "I started to cry and ... was panicking," she tells CBS New York. As she relayed to her father that someone had thrown something in her face, "he was like, 'Oh my God, it's acid.'" A GoFundMe for Ikram set up by a friend notes that "when Nafiah screamed it caused the acid to go into her mouth, burning her tongue and throat, which prevented her from breathing." It adds that the acid flung in her face "melted [her] contact lenses onto her eyes."
Ikram was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries to her throat and one eye and burns to her arms. "I can just see colors, but that's it," she tells CBS. CNN notes that support for Ikram has since been flooding in, including from TV host and author Padma Lakshmi, who's said to have known the family for years. "This is every parent's worst nightmare," Lakshmi posted on Instagram this week, imploring people to donate to Ikram's GoFundMe, which has raised more than $420,000 as of Friday morning. Cops say they're looking for a man about 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a skinny build, seen wearing a black hoodie and gloves during the attack and fleeing in a red Nissan Altima. Police and Ikram herself, who's Muslim, don't believe it was a hate crime, per PIX11. Meanwhile, a reward for information about the attack has been increased to $20,000; people can call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. "My whole life changed in a matter of five minutes," Ikram says, per CBS. (Read more Long Island stories.)