It's been almost two months since the McShane family's lives changed forever.
On a warm late spring evening, Natasha McShane and her friend, Stacy Jurich, were viciously attacked by a man with a baseball bat while walking in the Bucktown neighborhood. Both women were hospitalized, but McShane's injuries proved more serious, with brain swelling that has left her hospitalized since.
McShane, an exchange student from Ireland, is now at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Her family says she's making progress -- walking with assistance, using her arms for some tasks, and has just started speaking again.
The family is calling Sunday Natasha's Day -- and are holding two big fundraisers to help with the long recovery she has ahead of her.
The event is being held at two locations -- the Irish American Heritage Center, at 4626 N. Knox, and at Gaelic Park in Oak Forest. Local musicians will be on hand to provide entertainment, while a raffle at each location will help raise cash. Both events go until 9 p.m. Sunday.
Family spokeswoman Maureen O'Looney said the McShane family has had to move out of housing provided by the Rehab Institute, but someone has already stepped up and offered them a fully-furnished place to live while Natasha recovers in Chicago. The family hopes to take her back to Ireland next month to help control the costs of her treatment.
If you want to help, you can also donate online. Go to HelpNatasha.net to learn more. The family also released a statement over the weekend, thanking those who've stepped forward to help:
- We are relieved to report that Natasha continues to make steady progress in her recovery at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Her positive response to the speech, occupational and physical therapies being administered by the excellent staff at the RIC has been heartening. Upon her admission on May 14, 2010, she was unable to talk, walk, eat or move her arms independently. Today, she is walking with assistance, has started to use her arms for functional tasks and has begun to talk. A tracheotomy which was previously installed to assist her with her breathing was removed and she is now breathing completely on her own Additionally, she is slowly relearning how to eat and drink and earlier this week enjoyed her first sips of tea.
However, despite these great strides she has made her final prognosis remains uncertain. In this respect, we are mindful that the road ahead of her will be long and hard. Nevertheless, we are extremely hopeful that we will eventually get our beautiful daughter back to a place where she will be able to lead a full, meaningful and independent life.
At this point, we would ask that you continue to keep Natasha in your thoughts and prayers. We have no doubt whatsoever that the tremendous support and goodwill she has received has been instrumental in her progress to date. We would like to take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to the countless volunteers and supporters who have worked, and continue to work, tirelessly, to raise money for Natasha’s future care.
We continue to be awed and moved by the sheer magnitude of the generosity shown by friends and strangers alike. Indeed, we truly feel we are among friends, in this beautiful city of Chicago, while Natasha continues her journey of recovery.
For the strength you give us during this most stressful time, we cannot thank you all enough.