This Saturday, August 28, 2010, come on out to Bourbon Street 3359 W. 115th Street in Merrionette Park , IL and help a great family.
Here is a note from neighborhood firefighter Jim McMahon -
"There is a benefit at Bourbon Street next Saturday for a young man from West Beverly that got shot in the head last January. I have worked with his uncle, Johnny LaPorta, from time to time over the years on the fire department and just got to know this kids parents recently. The father's a hard working guy and his wife is from my old neighborhood (St. Bede). They're just genuine down to earth people who got a real tough break. This is a real good family and we're trying to get every person we can to go to this benefit to help support this effort. The benefit committee has done their part, it's organized and ready to go, now we just need THE PEOPLE."
Here are the facts -
In the early morning hours of January 12, 2010, a native West Beverly man, Mike LaPorta, was involved in an incident that has changed his life, and his family’s life forever.
He had recently moved out to the town of Sandwich , but came into the city to celebrate his father’s birthday with him and the rest of their family. After a nice evening that included dinner and cake with his family, Mike went out to a neighborhood bar to meet up with some of his longtime friends for a few drinks, a few laughs and to play a few games of bean bags.
They ended up at his former college roommate’s home in Mount Greenwood when tragedy struck. Somehow, 29 year old Mike LaPorta got shot in the back of the head with his friend’s gun, leaving a bullet lodged in the back of his brain. The circumstances surrounding the shooting are unclear, and the Chicago Police Department are still investigating the incident. He remembers being at his friends house, but doesn’t recall the shooting at all, and his family has not shared the details of the incident with him.
Initially, his chances for survival were less than slim, but with our superior surgeons and medical facilities, and by the grace of God, Mike miraculously survived. He spent months in the hospital clinging to life and has undergone several major brain surgeries. Mike has been released from the hospital but still requires around the clock care, so his parents have taken him back to live with them in their West Beverly home, which they had to have extensively remodeled and altered to accommodate Mike’s wheelchair and other special needs.
LaPorta is getting rehabilitation therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago [RIC] and is also going to Next Steps SCI, Rehab Center in Willow Springs, who are connected to the Christopher Reeves Foundation and specialize in teaching people with spinal cord injuries to walk again. Mike’s working very hard in therapy and is making great progress, both physically and mentally. Even though he cannot walk yet and has some difficulty initiating conversation, his long term memory and attitude are good. Mike’s a strong young guy and has a lot of support, so if he can continue to get the right rehabilitation, we’re all hoping and praying for him to achieve a substantial amount of recovery.
Mike LaPorta is a graduate of Brother Rice High School and has always loved the great outdoors. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, but also enjoyed mountain biking. He’d go on several hunting trips every year with another one of his close friends who is also an outdoorsman, Lance Metzger, who these days spends a lot of his time indoors with Mike, and is just grateful that he survived the shooting. Metzger says he is very optimistic now that his buddy has been making such great strides and has even begun to smile again. "I'll always be at his side," said Metzger.
Metzger keeps encouraging Mike's mother, Patti, by telling her “Be grateful for what you have, and you've got to move on and work with what you have." The support from LaPorta’s friends and family has been absolutely fantastic, but things of this nature can become overwhelming very quickly. The LaPorta family are in for a long uphill climb and they can’t do it alone. We’ve all gotta help them along.
As I’m sure you can imagine, the LaPorta family has incurred a significant amount of medical expenses since the shooting, and future costs are going to be astronomical. The emotional strain alone that something like this has on a family is impossible to even explain, not to mention adding the huge financial burden to the equation. When an unexpected and devastating event like this happens in our lives, it’s a complete “game changer.” It affects not only the victim, but every member of the family, their friends and anyone even casually associated with them. It is indescribable!
There’s absolutely nothing that anyone can do to change the past, but we do have a tiny bit of control over the future, at least when it comes to what we will do to help as individuals. So in the spirit of helping out our friends and neighbors, some of Mike LaPorta’s friends decided to run a benefit they’ve very aptly coined, "Miracles for Mikey," to help raise the much needed funds that it will take to help this family.
It will be held next Saturday afternoon, from 3 to 7 p.m. on August 28th at 115 Bourbon Street , located at 3359 W. 115th Street in Merrionette Park , IL .
Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for age 16 and younger. This event will feature food, beverages, raffles, silent auctions and entertainment. Nobody does benefits better than Bourbon Street , and it’s always nice to get out of the house and see some old friends again. This should be a real good time.
Monetary donations can also be sent to the “Miracles for Mikey” fund at Archer Bank, c/o Nancy Kuzma, 3435 W. 111th Street in Chicago , IL 60655 .
Mike LaPorta’s parents are Mike and Patti, he has a younger brother named Chris, and is also a nephew of the Chicago Fire Departments very own, Johnny LaPorta.
For additional information, please call Lance Metzger at (708) 717-3790 or go to: www.miraclesformikey.webs.com
The “Miracles for Mikey” benefit committee has worked tirelessly to organize this wonderful event, but if they don’t get the numbers turning out, it will not be successful.
This is why I’m asking each and every one of you; to please come out to Bourbon Street next Saturday afternoon, bring along your neighbors and family members, and let’s make it a day to remember. We all know that money is tight everywhere, so if you can’t afford to attend or just can’t make it for some other reason, then please consider opening up your heart and your checkbook and make a donation to the “Miracles for Mikey” fund at Archer Bank, for whatever amount you CAN afford. Because while some can still afford to give a lot, and others can only afford to give a little, every little bit will help…..a lot!
Let’s all join together as a community and support this fine neighborhood family.
This benefit is just one week away from today, so please spread the word and FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO EVERYONE THAT YOU CAN.
Even if you are tied up with Daddy-Do jobs and tasks, Mom-Car-Pooling to cheerleading, or out of town, click my post title and On Miracles for Mikey see where you can send a check.
This is Grassroots! That other nonsense is political . . .nonsense. Let's help each other. We always do! See you there!