Fundraiser held for victim in Bucktown bat attack

June 4, 2010 9:20:04 PM PDT
Chicago's Irish community came together for a fundraiser Friday night to benefit a college student from Northern Ireland who was injured in a vicious attack in Bucktown.

Natasha McShane, 23, remains at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Authorities say she and her friend Stacy Jurich, 24, were beaten with a wooden bat while walking in the 1800-block of North Damen Avenue at 3:30 a.m. They reportedly were heading to Jurich's home after celebrating a night out.

Heriberto Viramontes and Marcy Cruz were charged in the attack and robbery. Police say they caught the suspects after they used a cell phone and credit cards taken from the victims. Police say Viramontes allegedly beat the women with a baseball bat and took their purses. Cruz allegedly drove the getaway car. Viramontes and Cruz pleaded not guilty on Friday.

Organizers say 100- percent of what's collected will go to McShane.

"The response for tonight, we're expecting several hundreds of people and people are calling, I mean that's more Chicago than the unfortunate tragedy that happened to those two girls," said Colleen McShane, Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority.

"I think it's important to try and make something positive out of something that happened that was so negative in our community," said Katie Dunne, benefit supporter.

People came to the fundraiser, which began at 5 p.m. and goes till 9 p.m., to raise money for the University of Illinois graduate student from Northern Ireland who was attacked in Bucktown with a baseball bat. The Chicagoland community has rallied to support the young woman and her family.

"They're going to have a lot of expenses. They had to come over from Ireland and there is going to be a lot of medical expenses and a lof of people in Chicago said we want to do something," said Jim Sheahan, benefit coordinator.

McShane's parents and other family members flew in from Ireland and have been at her bedside in the hospital and now at the Rehabilitation Institute. ABC7 spoke with her grandmother who said the family is pleased with her progress, but she said McShane cannot walk on her own.

"She can hold a conversation...she's been whispering," said Bernadette McShane, Natasha's grandmother.

"She has three hours of therapy each day and her mother says the progress is very, very slow," said Sheahan.

Jurich's injuries were less threatening and she was released from the hospital and was seen using a wheelchair at a benefit in her honor on May 8.

Mayor Daley, Sheriff Tom Dart and former sheriff Michael Sheahan were some of the co-chairs of Friday's event.


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