Last Saturday, a group of people counter-protesting the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia were running for their lives when James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly drove his car into the crowd. Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old of Charlottesville, was killed in the tragic strike and 19 others were injured, including Natalie Romero, a 20-year-old from Houston.
Romero’s mom, Ericka Chaves—who texted her daughter to be careful that day,—is now standing by her daughter who suffered a skull fracture, and lacerations to the mouth and forehead. With hefty medical costs and no health insurance, Chaves had to start a GoFundMe fundraising campaign to pay her daughter’s expenses. In three days,, it has already exceeded her goal of $120k by raising more than $134k from nearly 5000 donors.
“At a counter-protest for the Charlottesville White Supremacy rally, a 20-year-old (my daughter, a Houston native) was one of the people who got hit by a car,” wrote Chaves on her fundraising page. “She’s in the hospital and we really will appreciate any help for the hospital’s expenses. Natalie does not have health insurance at this time and has sustained skull fractures among other injuries from the attack. Thank you and God bless you.”
Romero recently finished her freshman year at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. At a news conference on Monday, her mother revealed that Romero is the first in her family to attend college.
Chaves says that she wants more than just words from Donald Trump, who’s received criticism from the left and right for his limp response to the white nationalist rally: “I don’t want President Trump’s words. I want actions,” she said at the news conference.
Romero’s family hopes to have her back in Texas to continue treatment. In the meantime, Chaves has reached out to government officials for financial assistance so she can continue to travel between Virginia and Texas, while her daughter remains in the hospital in her college town.
People Chica has reached out to Chaves for comment, but has not received a response.
Fields Jr. has been charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and fleeing the scene of the crash. The Ohio-native was denied bail on Monday as he secures an attorney.