Editor's note: Denver7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at email@example.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Denver7 stories here.
GOLDEN, Colo. — Coloradans are rallying to raise money for a teen’s recovery after she was repeatedly stabbed and left for dead near a park in Aurora last year.
She lost movement in her legs from the attack and is now in rehabilitation.
On Saturday, American Legion Rider’s Post 21 held a fundraiser for 17-year-old Jadah McDaniels. Denver Broncos offensive linemen Dalton Risner surprised McDaniels at the charity event and donated Broncos items for the silent auction.
“I am just really appreciative of everything that everyone does for me,” McDaniels said.
“I am overwhelmed — very grateful, very appreciative [for] everybody that came out,” said Jennifer Holland, McDaniels mom.
On Sept. 10, 2020, McDaniels was repeatedly stabbed and left for dead near Sunburst Park, in Aurora. She was found in a pool of blood by a passerby who called 911. McDaniels spent nearly four months at the hospital.
Holland said her daughter met a guy online, and they met up to listen to music at the park. She said the man started stabbing her daughter after she turned down his sexual advances.
“None of us will ever know the traumatizing moment that she went through, and to see her here today smiling, dressed up, happy, being kind to other people among her circumstances, that inspired me,” Risner said.
Denver7 shared McDaniels story in late October, and viewers donated $5,000 to her Denver7Gives fund. The money helped buy a specialty bed for McDaniels’ recovery and a lift to help lift her into her wheelchair.
During the Saturday fundraiser, the family raised an additional $4,000 to help pay medical expenses. Holland quit both of her jobs to care for her daughter around the clock. She hopes to raise a total of $50,000 on GoFundMe to pay off a wheelchair-accessible van and purchase a specialty bike that will stimulate McDaniels’ legs.
“When we look back, we will always remember this and all the friends and family that have been so supportive,” Holland said.
She says through pool therapy, her daughter can move her hips a little from side to side and at times can wiggle her feet just a little. It’s the small progress that's giving them both hope McDaniels will walk again.
In the meantime, McDaniels is looking forward to her high school graduation and attending college.
Aurora Police confirmed an arrest was made in the attack.