The father of Natasha McShane, who was left fighting for life after being battered in a baseball bat attack in Chicago, has spoken of his family’s ordeal, saying he is pinning all his hopes for her full recovery on a miracle.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the brutal attack, Liam McShane, who together with his wife Sheila has kept a vigil at her bedside for the past six weeks, described the family’s hopes for their eldest daughter’s recovery.
“She is out of the coma, she recognises us now and some days she can whisper the odd word, but she has a long way to go,” Mr McShane told the Irish Mail on Sunday. “There's still swelling on her brain and the doctors always seem to give us the worst-case scenario. But we need a miracle and we’re pinning our hopes on prayer and the power of healing.”
The father-of-five described how they rubbed her with holy water from Lourdes and special cloths given to them by healers.
“She can only whisper and it’s only the odd word. But she responds to us and we talk to her about life and the future,” he said.
“I just wish we could all be home but the doctors say there is no chance of moving Natasha yet.”
The 23-year-old was attacked on her way home from a night out with a friend on April 23. Both women were struck across the head with a baseball bat and their assailant made off with their purses, containing just $45 (£31).
Her friend Stacy is out of hospital, but after two weeks in intensive care Natasha was moved to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
The crime so appalled the city that dozens of fundraisers have been held to support the family and help pay medical bills. These have culminated in Chicago’s mayor declaring this Sunday to be ‘Natasha Day’, when fundraising benefits are to be held.
At home, the tiny village of Silverbridge in Co Armagh has also been making efforts to fundraise for the family. On Saturday night an event was organised by Silverbridge Harps football club and the Tullydonnell Residents Group.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Natasha’s grandmother Bernadette McShane praised the efforts: “We are very grateful for all the support. They had music, auctions and raffles at Silverbridge to raise money for Natasha.”