help for a rape victim and her family

Earlier this year, on April 24, an 18-year-old high school student in Tampa, Florida was brutally beaten and raped while returning books to a public library. The attack left her blinded, brain-damaged, and unable to talk, swallow or walk: 'My soul is broken,' mother of beaten teen says. More here: Prayers abound for Hillsborough rape victim and family.

The girl was weeks away from graduation and had a full scholarship to the University of Florida. Instead of enjoying this time with her friends, she spent six weeks in the neuro-intensive care unit at Tampa General Hospital. She had suffered strokes from being strangled and her skull had been crushed.

Authorities say she was attacked by Kendrick Morris, a 16-year-old charged as an adult in connection with two rapes—the one at the library and another of a 61-year-old woman at a day care near his home in June 2007. He remains in jail without bail on nine felony charges.

Today, the girl's family is nearly bankrupt. They used up all of their insurance and had to apply for Medicaid. They were notified recently that Medicaid would no longer pay for her care at the rehab center because she is not making sufficient progress: Squeals of joy rise, tears of sorrow fall when friends visit rape victim.

If you're interested in helping the family out, an account has been set up for the family at SunTrust Bank. To contribute, go to any SunTrust Bank and ask that a deposit be made to the Bloomingdale Library Rape Assault Victim Fund.

Some concerned citizens have also organized an event to help the family out: Fashion For Compassion, a fashion show fundraiser on behalf of the Bloomingdale Library Victim. Saturday, September 27 at the Tampa Convention Center. There will be entertainment, food, fashion, etc. It's a good cause, so if you're in the area, mark your calendars and check it out. All proceeds will go towards the victim's fund. For more information, go here.

UPDATE: A PayPal account for the Library Rape Assault Victim Fund has been set up under Michelle Phan at thericebunny@yahoo.com.

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