As shooting survivor rallies, community joins in support

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PITTSFIELD — Nick Carnevale is working hard to recover from gunshot wounds to his head, and the community is working alongside him.

From billboard signs to T-shirt sales and pop-up fundraisers, Berkshire residents are working to make sure his family — upended by the incident — doesn't feel the financial burden of his Boston-area medical care alone.

Nick's mother, Cara Carnevale, said she and her husband, Marc Carnevale, are living in eastern Mass. temporarily to be near their son while he recovers. She said multiple surgeries stand between him and his return home.

The ordeal has prompted an outpouring of support from the community, which donated more than $36,000 to a GoFundMe page for the family as of Monday afternoon. On Tuesday there will be a fundraising event at Zucco's Family Restaurant from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., during which time the restaurant will donate 20 percent of its sales to the family.

"It's a long road, so we're definitely appreciative of any money that can help alleviate that," Cara said.

The 19-year-old was shot during a party at October Mountain State Forest on Aug. 20. Three men — Kevin Nieves, 19, Luis Devalle-Rodriguez, 23, and Daqaun Douglas, 24 — have been charged in connection to the shooting. Douglas and Delvalle-Rodriguez were released last month on bail, while Nieves remains held without the right to bail.

According to one witness, Nieves had recently broken up with Nick's date to the party and was having a hard time moving past the breakup. Nick graduated from Mt. Greylock High School in the spring.

Alf Barbalunga, a close family friend, said the "outrageous act of violence" has shaken the county. He said the best way to heal as a community is to help this family in their time of need.

Barbalunga is organizing an event at Mazcots on Nov. 11 "to be able to contribute in a positive way rather than sitting on the sidelines." The event runs from noon to 9 p.m.

He said the restaurant is donating a percentage of sales to the cause, and he'll raffle off courtside Celtics seats. Tickets cost $20, and interested parties should email him at nickstrongraffle@gmail.com.

Cara said they'll use the funds to modify their home to meet Nick's needs, to make sure he's safe and to pay medical bills. They'll have to drive regularly to Boston even after he's released from the hospital, she said, and so there are "a lot of unknowns" in the family's financial future.

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"The bills haven't really come in," she said, though she has learned they're being asked to pay for Nick's helicopter ride to the hospital.

The parents said fundraising efforts have been cropping up unbeknownst to them. They said they've been consumed by Nick's recovery and so have felt somewhat isolated from life at home in Berkshire County.

But Cara said friends, family and even strangers were determined to let them know they're supported, and for that they're grateful.

"A lot of people have sort of taken it into their own hands ... ," Cara said. "When he comes home we're going to plan some sort of event to thank everybody."

Between then and now, she said, Nick will undergo facial reconstruction surgery and a piece of his skull will be reattached. He'll need to get more stable on his feet, she said. And once he's home, he'll get to work on vocal therapy.

She said he should be ready to come home later this month.

"He's really done some amazing work and has recovered miraculously," she said.

Cara said the shooting incident will become more clear once court records are released. Initially, those documents were scheduled to become public Sept. 25, but a judge pushed that release date to November.

She said she and her husband have been struck by how deeply the community cares.

"We really appreciate the community's support," Cara said. "People have been amazing."

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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