Natasha takes first steps on remarkable recovery

June 15, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

Natasha McShane has taken her first tentative steps since she was attacked in Chicago by a man using a metal baseball bat almost eight weeks ago, her family has said.

In a statement issued through the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago where Natasha is being treated, her family said she has begun to walk, talk and breathe on her own.

Her remarkable improvement has been confirmed by her grandmother, Bernadette McShane, who says Natasha is able to speak more words every day and has begun to eat solid food and drink tea.  She paid tribute to Natasha’s determination to get well.

“Anyone who knows Natasha knows that anything she goes to do, she puts in 110 per cent.  That’s the type of girl she is. She’s been working very hard to overcome those difficulties,” Bernadette said.

“Last week they put the phone to her ear and she was able to say hello to me. It was lovely just to hear her. It was such a relief,” she added.

Natasha’s parents, Liam and Sheila, have remained at her side since the April 23rd attack.

‘Positive response’

In a statement released by the rehabilitation unit, her family said that she had made a positive response to the speech, occupational and physical therapies administered by the hospital staff.

When she first got to the hospital she was unable to talk, walk or move her arms.

“Today, she is walking with assistance, has started to use her arms for functional tasks and has begun to talk,” the statement said.

It remains unclear, however, when Natasha will be well enough to make the journey home to Silverbridge.

“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,” the family statement said.

Natasha and her friend Stacy Jurich were attacked from behind and struck on the back of their heads with a baseball bat as they walked home from a night out in the Bucktown area of Chicago.  Miss Jurich was less seriously injured in the attack and was released from hospital soon after but Natasha suffered serious head injuries and spent three weeks in a drug-induced coma.

Two people have been charged with the attack.  Heriberto Viramontes, 31, and his alleged accomplice, Marcy Cruz (25) have been charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and other charges.  They are both being held without bail.