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Fundraisers planned for Northern Ireland student attacked in Chicago

By Emily Moulton

Fundraising events are to be held in Chicago for the Northern Ireland student and her American friend who were savagely beaten with a baseball bat.

Natasha McShane (23) from Silverbridge and her friend Stacy Jurich (24) were attacked as they made her way home from a night out at a bar in the city on April 23.

The Queen’s University graduate, who was at the University of Illinois in Chicago, sustained severe injuries. She was repeatedly struck with a baseball bat, and is in an induced coma.

Her friend, who was struck on the back of the head first, is out of intensive care. To help pay for medical bills, her family will hold a fundraiser at Cans Bar and Canteen, the pub where the two friends had been before the attack.

Ms Jurich’s father Pete has been handing out fliers advertising the event throughout the Bucktown neighbourhood where the pair were attacked. He told the Chicago Sun Times that he has been touched by everyone’s support.

“There's a lot of love pouring out. We appreciate the feelings and prayers from people in the neighbourhood.”

It is understood that 15% of the bar’s sales will go towards Stacy’s medical bills. Her family also intend to hold a silent auction.

Meanwhile, retired Cook County sheriff Michael F Sheahan, who was stunned by the vicious assault, has organised a benefit to help raise money for Ms McShane.

“I believe that together our support and prayers will inspire a positive outcome,” he said.

Natasha remains critically ill but has shown signs of improvement. Last Saturday she opened her eyes for a few moments.

Her parents Liam and Sheila have been keeping a bedside vigil since arriving in the US.

Two people, Heriberto Viramontes (30) and Marcy Cruz (25), have been charged.

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