RUSKIN — A barbecue fundraiser Saturday for the victim of a 2008 rape outside the Bloomingdale Regional Library brought in almost $25,000, just shy of its goal, organizers said. An anonymous donor has now pledged to make up the remaining difference.
Volunteers collected about $3,000 in the days leading up to the fundraiser at E.G. Simmons Park and $21,000 that day, said Melanie Morrison, director of the Ruskin-SouthShore Chamber of Commerce, which organized the event.
Morrison said an anonymous donor will make up the remaining $1,000 or so by the end of the week.
"It's priceless to be part of a community that comes together for something like this," Morrison said.
Organizers hoped to raise enough money to buy the young woman a $25,000 hyperbaric chamber, which is a sealed, high-pressure oxygen chamber used in physical therapy.
The 20-year-old, who has not been named by the Times because of the nature of the incident, is still recovering from injuries in the attack that left her unable to walk, talk or see.
Kim Wilmath can be reached at (813) 661-2442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.