Fayetteville, N.C. — A Fayetteville labor union has adopted the family of a Cape Fear High School student who was shot at school last month.
Catilyn Abercrombie, 15, was shot as she stood in a breezeway outside the school cafeteria on Oct. 24. A .22-caliber bullet remains lodged in her neck near her spine, and she has a tear in her esophagus.
"It just hit so close to home," said Darryl Jackson, president of United Steel Workers of America Local 959, which represents workers at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant in Fayetteville.
Jackson didn't know the Abercrombie family before Catilyn's shooting, but he said that, when someone's child is hurting, she becomes everyone's child. The union has decided to collect money to help with the family's bills and the expense of staying in Durham as Catilyn recovers at Duke University Hospital.
"Your bills mount up. I don't think that the community can give enough to get her where she really needs to be or get that family where they need to be," he said.
A fundraiser at Cape Fear High a couple of weeks ago raised $64,000 to help the Abercrombies pay for expenses, and another fundraiser last weekend brought in several thousand more.
Her parents have kept people updated through Facebook postings. She is walking and talking but only with a lot of pain, and it's doubtful that she will be home before Christmas.
"From what I understand, she still has a long road to travel. She's going to have her fourth surgery," Jackson said.
Two other Cape Fear students – Charles Underwood, 15, and Ta'Von McLaurin, 18 – are charged in the shooting, but investigators haven't commented on a motive. They have said they don't believe Abercrombie was the target.