'We are by her bed 24/7 -- it's a long, hard road'
Father of mugged student Natasha McShane tells how she is now breathing on her own
IT WAS late in the evening of April 24, 2010, when a Skype call came through to Liam McShane's home in Silverbridge, Co Armagh. Normally it would be his beautiful eldest daughter, Natasha, who was studying urban planning at a university in Chicago, telling how she was getting on, asking how her little brothers and sisters were doing.
But this time the call came from a friend of Natasha's. She had been contacted by the college who had, in turn, been contacted by Illinois Masonic Medical Centre with a simple, yet terrible, message: The parents of Natasha McShane needed to be urgently notified -- their daughter had been savagely mugged and beaten almost to death. She was unconscious and going in for emergency brain surgery. Her life was hanging in the balance.
"I felt sick to my stomach when I was first told," Liam, a farmer and mechanic, remembers. "There's a holy shrine, St Bridget's Shrine, we just went up there, me and my son Conor and prayed and had a bit of a breakdown. I knew she'd had an awful bang on her head. I was praying she would make it."