Markhasia “Jarae” Ross is “a very outgoing kid” who “always loves to be involved,” especially when it comes to her academics and athletics, said her mom, Marshetta McClenton.
Now, though, it’s neighbors who are trying to step up to help the 17-year-old honors student and basketball player from North Lawndale who attends Trinity High School in River Forest. A shooting this month caused extensive injuries to the young athlete’s leg and forced McClenton to take a leave from work so she could care for her daughter.
A GoFundMe campaign to help Ross as she recovers — and to help McClenton pay the bills while she cares for her daughter — has raised about $700 of its $5,000 goal.
Ross plays basketball for the high school and a travel team, and is always happy to help out, especially with a cheer camp her mom runs, McClenton said.
“She’s just really driven,” McClenton said.
But everything changed in an instant for Ross on Aug. 11, when she was shot in her leg outside a friend’s home in Garfield Park.
Ross and her friends were outside when someone fired shots. She tried to run for cover but realized she could not get up — a shot to her leg shattered her tibia, according to the GoFundMe campaign.
“This bullet was not meant for her,” Troy Tucker, the GoFundMe’s organizer, wrote on the campaign page. “Jarae is a hard-working young lady who has two summer jobs.”
McClenton had to take an indefinite leave from her job to help Ross with rehab, she said.
McClenton “is devastated” by the tumultuous turn of events, and the money will be used to help the family until she can return to work, Tucker wrote on GoFundMe.
McClenton said Ross is “doing pretty OK,” all things considered. She’s expected to start occupational therapy this week, McClenton said.
“I’m just trying to keep her out of her room so she doesn’t get too barred up in there,” McClenton said.
But McClenton said she is navigating her own ups and downs while trying to be there for Ross.
“I can be superwoman,” McClenton said. “And then there’s the strong breakdown.”
McClenton — who works as a medical assistant and hairdresser and runs a cheerleading camp — said she wasn’t expecting to have to be at home and away from work for as long as she has been to care for Ross. She isn’t getting paid for her time off to care for her daughter, she said.
“I didn’t realize we’d be in the hospital for eight days — and even coming home, I still need to wait on her hand and foot,” McClenton said. “It’s going to be me being at home for a long while, getting her to therapy and getting done what needs to be done around the house.”
McClenton said she coaches cheerleading with Tucker, and Tucker was one of Ross’ cheer coaches growing up. It was Tucker’s idea to start the crowdfunding campaign for Ross, who is now a senior in high school, McClenton said.
“You still need to pay your bills and do what you need to do — for me and her,” McClenton said.
Even ordinary daily experiences, such cooking or grocery shopping, aren’t like they were before Ross’s life-altering shooting, McClenton said.
“My everyday routine has been altered because of this situation,” McClenton said.
Academic arrangements still needed to be worked out with Trinity High School as of Tuesday, McClenton said, and she’s trying to pay for her daughter’s tuition for the private school.
Ross won’t be able to physically attend school for a while, and she’s struggling mentally, McClenton said. A few days ago, she overheard her daughter “crying her heart out” in her room.
“She keeps on having flashbacks,” McClenton said. “Whenever she’s dreaming … it always ends in someone getting shot.”
Every little bit helps when it comes to the GoFundMe campaign for Ross, McClenton said.
“I’m just still trying to put my faith in God and let him work,” she said.