EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – He’s been through more than anyone ever should have to, but former New Mexico State basketball player Shawn Harrington stays positive.
He’s just so charming and likeable,” said Rus Bradburd, an author and Harrington’s college coach.
In 2014 Harrington was driving his daughter to school on Chicago’s west side, when gunmen opened fire on his vehicle in a mistaken identity shooting. Harrington covered his daughter to protect her, and she was unharmed.
However, Harrington was paralyzed from the waist down and has been confined to a wheel chair ever since. His story was chronicled in the book “All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed,” penned by his college coach, Bradburd. For the last 6 years, he’s been reliant on family and friends to help him get around. During COVID-19, life has been even harder, because very few people can come see him, and he can’t go much of anywhere.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time by myself, too much idle time,” Harrington said. “I haven’t been able to get out and go see my therapist, and getting out to do the regular things I’d normally do. It’s been rough to say the least.”
Since the incident, Harrington has lived with his aunt in an apartment that isn’t wheel chair accessible; but that’s about to change.
“An apartment across from his aunt came open. We just lit up when we found out it’s going up for sale,” said Bradburd.
When it did, a GoFundMe was set up for Harrington in order to purchase and remodel the home to make it wheel chair accessible. The Chicago building company XCED has volunteered to do all of the work for free, widening doors, putting cabinets at ground level, installing a roll-in shower and multiple other changes.
“Just being able to get out and get some fresh air without anyone’s help will be nice. It’s just that independence and sense of normalcy,” said Harrington.
Harrington’s story has travelled the world. On Sunday, former Chicago Bulls guard and current Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr tweeted his support for Harrington. Kerr donated to his cause and implored others to do the same.
“I’m still floored by that. I grew up watching Steve Kerr here in Chicago and continued to follow him after he left because I was such a fan,” Harrington said. “The fact that he found interest in the story, to get support from someone like that is another blessing in all of this.”
With donations from Kerr and many others, the GoFundMe has received over $80,000 of its $150,000 goal. The donations so far have been enough to put a down payment on the apartment, but Bradburd said they want to continue receiving donations to put towards Harrington’s new place so he never has to worry about anything else.
It’s another step towards independence for Harrington and will allow him to get back to a job he loves working with at-risk youth in the Windy City’s public schools.
“Someone played that role for me when I growing up and I truly believe it takes a village. I just want to play my role in that village and help these kids expand their horizons,” said Harrington.
To donate to Harrington’s cause, click here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/independence-for-shawn-harrington