A fundraiser will be held Wednesday for the family of Ryan Diviney and to raise awareness about acts of violence.
Ryan, a West Virginia University sophomore general studies major, was maliciously assaulted and left in a coma after a November incident.
The event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Dragonfly restaurant on Chestnut Street in Morgantown.
Ryan was attacked outside the Willey Street Dairy Mart Nov. 7 at 3:10 a.m. by Jonathan May, 18, and Austin Vantrease, 18, of Newark, Del. The two teens were charged with malicious assault in connection with the beating.
Two WVU students close to Ryan and a sociology professor organized a grass-roots fundraiser to help the Diviney family with rising daily costs of health care for Ryan.
Jon Welsh, a sophomore political science major, and Hannah Ellis, a sophomore public relations major, want to see a successful fundraiser because they know how much it means to the Diviney family.
"I'm constantly going to see him. I just went the other day, and he looks better every time," Welsh said. "It makes me want to do more and more to help him."
Welsh, who was Ryan's roommate, said the house is not the same without Ryan and his dog Duke around.
During the fundraiser, a raffle and silent auction will be held, and all proceeds will go to the Ryan's Rally trust fund.
Items to be raffled off include gift certificates, tanning packages, hotel accommodations at the SpringHill Suites Marriott, movie passes, a netbook and other WVU items. More will hopefully be added to the drawing such as a liquor basket, said Daniel Brewster, a sociology professor, who started the fundraiser.
Dragonfly will donate 5 percent to 10 percent of its food and drink profits to the trust fund. Guests may bring cash or checks made payable to the trust fund for donation.
"(Welsh) and I were really good friends with Ryan, and he would definitely be doing the same for us," Ellis said.
The people of Morgantown coming together shows how big-hearted its residents are, said Ken Diviney, Ryan's father.
"I thank the people of Morgantown for their continued support. We still get cards from people we don't know – just a Morgantown postage stamp," Ken said. "We just got a WVU-style prayer quilt from the Suncrest United Methodist Church. Ryan would love it."
Recently, Ryan was accepted into the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in northern New Jersey and will be moving next week. Ken is excited because Ryan has begun to look like his old self again.
"I'm happy he's put weight back on and has his flexibility back," Ken said. "He can stretch his fingers out to normal now."
Ken and his family work with Ryan daily to stretch out his joints and prevent them from locking. Recently, Brewster bought the family a continuous passive motion machine to help stretch Ryan's legs.
It is amazing how much Brewster has done for the family even though he did not know Ryan personally, Ken said.