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Donations pour in to support Chicago assault victim Natasha

By Clare Weir

The family of Silverbridge student Natasha McShane who was almost battered to death in Chicago has set up a bank account after being overwhelmed with donations from well-wishers.

Donations are flooding in to support the Co Armagh student who is fighting her way back to health after she was attacked with a baseball bat.

Natasha (23) and her friend Stacey Jurich were beaten by two attackers as they returned home from a night out in Chicago on April 23.

Fundraising has taken place on both sides of the Atlantic to help pay for accommodation for her parents Liam and Sheila as they wait by her bedside, and for Natasha’s continuing care and flights home.

Children from two local primary schools have even handed over their pocket money and held fundraisers for Natasha.

Her grandmother Bernadette McShane, who lives in Crossmaglen, said yesterday that a fund has been set up at a bank because of the amount of well-wishers calling to the family home.

She said: “It has just been amazing and the family are so grateful.”

”There were people calling every day with cash and cheques, no matter how big or small so we thought it would be better to set up the account.

“The two primary schools, St Patrick’s Primary in Crossmaglen and St Patrick’s in Cullyhanna, gave £100 and £200 each from pupils and staff.

“It has just been amazing and the family are so grateful, it’s lovely to know that everyone is thinking of her and people have shown such kindness.

“I am not sure of the total amount but I am sure we are in the thousands now.”

It was revealed last week that Natasha can now speak and is learning to walk again.

She spent three weeks in a medically-induced coma and first opened her eyes on May 7.

The UCD graduate travelled to Chicago to study urban planning and public affairs at the University of Illinois. Liam and Sheila hope to fly Natasha back to Musgrove Park Hospital as soon as she is well enough.

“She is still doing well, it will be a slow recovery.

“They had to remove part of her skull to release the swelling on her brain and it will be another few weeks before they can replace it, so nothing drastic can happen until then.”

A man and a woman, Heriberto Viramontes (30) and Marcy Cruz (25), have been arrested and charged with attempted murder.

The pair were initially charged with aggravated battery and armed robbery.

The Natasha McShane Fund has been opened at Bank of Ireland. Donations can be made at any branch, account number 48866196, sort code 90 22 82.

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