After the shooting that took place at the Highland Park Parade earlier this week, people have lost friends, family and loved ones — but few lost as much as Aiden McCarthy.
Aiden, just 2 years old, was attending Monday’s festivities with his mother, 35-year-old Irina McCarthy, and his father, 37-year-old Kevin McCarthy, when the celebrations took a horrific turn.
Kevin McCarthy was struck in the leg, and somehow ended up landing on Aiden. In the chaos that ensued, good Samaritans helped Aiden out from under his injured father and escorted him away from danger. The boy had scrapes and his clothing was bloodstained, apparently from his father’s mortal wound.
“My boyfriend handed me this little boy and said he was underneath this father who was shot in the leg,” Lauren Silva, 38, told the Daily Beast, according to the Daily Mail.
“They were trying to stop the bleeding so I brought the boy downstairs into the garage.”
A mother of two herself, Silva tried to comfort the boy even as he asked a heartbreaking question.
“He kept asking if mom and dad are going to come back soon,” she said. “I feel like I want to hold on to, like, a little bit of emotion that I feel — which is telling that boy that his dad was going to come back.”
After 20 minutes of hunkering down and keeping a low profile, Silva ventured back out of the garage to see how her boyfriend’s efforts were going. She handed Aiden off to the family she’d been taking shelter alongside, and they took him to a hospital.
The shooting broke hearts across the country, but tens of thousands have been deeply moved by the little boy’s plight. While he has loving family and a caring community, some people wanted to do more for him.
With the family’s blessing, a woman named Irina Colon set up a GoFundMe for Aiden.
“In the aftermath of the Highland Park, IL shootings on July 4, the North Shore community rallied to help a boy who we knew nothing about,” she wrote on the fundraising page. “We took him to safety under tragic circumstances, came together to locate his grandparents, and prayed for the safety of his family.
“Sadly, I need to share his name…Aiden McCarthy. And he needs more of our help. His parents Irina & Kevin were killed during the July 4 shooting. At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents.
“Aiden will be cared for by his loving family and he will have a long road ahead to heal, find stability, and ultimately navigate life as an orphan. He is surrounded by a community of friends and extended family that will embrace him with love, and any means available to ensure he has everything he needs as he grows.
“On behalf of his family, and with their permission, I am establishing this fundraiser to support him and the caregivers who will be tasked with raising, caring for, and supporting Aiden as he and his support system embark on this unexpected journey.”
In less than 24 hours, over 44,000 people donated over $2.4 million to Aiden’s fund. He has a long road ahead of him, but at least he’ll always know he has thousands of people supporting him.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.