Lifestyle & Human Interest

Bloody Toddler Found Orphaned After Parade Shooting Takes Both Parents: GoFundMe Raises $2.4 Million


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.

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“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.

Police then took the boy, and according to WFLD the toddler was taken to his grandparents, Misha and Nina Levberg, who are now caring for the boy and grieving the loss of Irina and Kevin.

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.

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“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.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking