ROGERS PARK — Family, friends and well-wishers from all over the country have donated more than $10,000 to help pay for the medical care of Michael Davis, a Rogers Park man who was brutally beaten with a baseball bat last week after breaking up a bar fight.
Davis, 44, has been hospitalized since the June 17 attack, while doctors say they're still unsure if he has suffered permanent brain damage, his family said.
After six hours of surgery Friday to repair a cut on his face and a broken jaw, he's still unable to speak or voluntarily move the right side of his body, said Davis' niece Alicia Webb.
"It’s sad, and I can’t say that enough — and how much I've cried. But it's good how much people care," she said. "There’s lot of evil in the world, but a lot of good, too."
Mike All, a regular of Poitin Stil, the neighborhood bar where Davis initially confronted his suspected attackers, has known Davis for three years.
In the days since the attack, 38-year-old All has launched an online fundraising effort, dubbed the Michael Davis Life Fund, that has so far pulled in a little more than $10,000.
Donations have poured in from all over the country — California, Arkansas, New Jersey, New York — from people who don't even know Davis, yet sympathized with his story, he said.
"It’s amazing," All said. "It’s weird because you always hear the stories on TV or online of people coming together and giving positive thoughts and good vibes and prayers, but you can never really feel or understand what that’s like until you see it — until it's really there."
About 11 p.m. on Father's Day, Davis and others were at Poitin Stil when two people entered the bar and began bickering with regulars about whose turn it was to rack the pool table.
Witnesses said the fight escalated, and Davis stepped in between the two suspects and another bar patron, then forced them out onto Jarvis Avenue. The suspects eventually left, but apparently waited nearby for Davis to leave about an hour later, when witnesses said the two suspects beat Davis with a baseball bat.
Since the attack, family and friends have rallied to support him.
Yvette Renee, Davis' longtime friend, frequently makes visits to see Davis at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston.
"There can never be too much [help,]" she said. "The word is out there that this is going on and that something has to be done. It isn’t happy times just yet. We still have a ways to go."
Webb, the niece, said doctors haven't said how long Davis' recovery will take — they're still waiting to see how he responds to surgery.
Meanwhile, another Poitin Stil regular reportedly was attacked outside the bar, but a district police official say it's unlikely to be related to Davis' attack.
About 2 a.m. Sunday, a man was punched in the back of the head after leaving the bar, the police source said.
"It does not appear to be connected to what happened to Mr. Davis," the source said, because Davis' attackers were two black men, while the attacker in Sunday's incident was a white man with strawberry blond hair.