Fundraiser for toddler orphaned by the Highland Park shooter raises $2.6 million
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A fundraiser set up to help 2-year-old Aiden McCarthy, whose parents were both killed in Monday’s mass shooting during a July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois, has raised about $2.6 million since it was created on Tuesday. 

As of Wednesday evening, the GoFundMe has raised $2.58 million, with its organizer, Irina Colon, noting that she created the fundraising effort with permission of the boy’s family. The toddler wasn’t injured in the shooting.

Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among those killed during the mass shooting, and Aiden was separated from his parents during the chaos. Dana and Greg Ring told CBS Chicago that they found the child with a stranger, who was in shock, and that they took the boy and looked after him until a Highland Park police detective picked him up and reunited him with his grandparents at a hospital.

“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,” Colon wrote in the GoFundMe, which has attracted almost 36,000 donations. 

She added, “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.”

Aiden McCarthy survived because his father shielded him with his body, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, citing the boy’s grandfather, Michael Levberg. Margo McCarthy, Aiden’s paternal grandmother, also attended the parade and was wounded in the shooting, he added. She was treated for her injuries, the publication said.

Levberg said that his daughter had been born in Russia, and that the family immigrated to the Chicago area. 

Irina McCarthy had attended DePaul University and worked in digital marketing in the pharmaceutical sector, while Kevin McCarthy worked for a gene therapy startup, Levberg told the publication. 

“They were crazy about their child,” Levberg told the newspaper. “They were planning two.” 

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