COLUMBUS, Ohio — A benefit on Friday night raised close to $5,000 for 2016 St. Xavier alumnus Max Williams after what's been described as a random drive-by shooting in north Columbus left him paralyzed last week.
Max Williams, 24, was with friends listening to music at Dick's Den on North High and West Tomkins Streets on Monday night, when a bullet broke through the window and hit him, severing his spinal cord below his chest.
"He's just kind of trying to move forward and he’s already talking about how he’s looking forward to gaining more independence just using his arms," his sister Claire said. "His positivity, I mean I couldn’t do it, I’ll be honest, so it’s been really impressive to see."
Williams, a 2020 Ohio State graduate, will be paralyzed from the waist down. It is a tough diagnosis for a someone who loves the outdoors, hiking, backpacking, and more.
"We'll need to revamp the house so it's wheelchair accessible and get him a car he can drive with his hands. That that requires more therapy so he can get that kind of license, the list goes on and on," said Claire. "We've had a lot of great support so far and we're hoping to keep that momentum going."
A close family friend has set up a GoFundMe page to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical needs for Williams now and moving forward. As of Sunday night, it had raised more than $175,000. Williams' sister said the first year of a spinal cord injury has been quoted at costing roughly $1 million.
His family has asked for other help too, including anyone with resources to help Williams navigate the challenges he will face once he leaves the hospital.
Williams' sister Claire, who lives in California, said this weekend Columbus police have told the family the shooting was caught on camera and it appears to be random, without an target. She said she believes police have leads, but want people to come forward with more information.
"All things considered, he's been really positive," she said. "It's a really unfair and unfortunate situation."
Williams works for Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, which gave our news partners at WBNS 10TV the following statement last week.
"Max's health and well-being are our number one priority. The thoughts and prayers of his Nationwide family are with Max and we wish him a swift and full recovery. Our Associate Wellbeing and HR teams reached out immediately providing Max, his family, and his work team with AAP (Associate Assistance Program) services, resources and contacts and are making sure he and his family are aware of all the resources available to him and his family including our Associates Helping Associates program, which is an employee-funded, Nationwide Foundation matching program to provide financial assistance in crisis situations like this."
A Facebook page has been created to share Williams' progress and to raise funds.
"Max deserves some justice, so I hope we can accomplish that," Claire said.