A benefit for an autistic Barrington teen recovering from a tragic accident that left him with third-degree burns on 40 percent of his body will take place from 6 p.m. to midnight Friday at McGonigal's Pub in Barrington.
Diana Spence, a family friend who is also the manager at McGonigal's, said 14-year-old Luke Parkin has had six surgeries already and faces many more to come.
She said there was a light moment last week when Luke finally was able to leave his sterile isolation hospital room and go outside for five minutes.
"I heard a full belly giggle from him," Spence said. "It was the first time he'd smiled or laughed in months."
Spence said Luke's autism is such that he is able to understand everything around him but is unable to speak.
Luke lives with his father, Jeff Parkin, who wrote about the amount of care his son receives on the event's website.
"He has spent his whole life working with multiple therapists, teachers and doctors to help him learn basic living skills that typical people take for granted every day," Parkin wrote.
The goal of the benefit is to help pay for some of Luke's medical bills.
Spence said her office at McGonigal's, 105 S. Cook St., is overflowing with silent auction prizes that have been donated by the community, such as a Faberge crystal bowl donated by M.J. Miller Jewelers, a gift certificate from the Chicago Institute of Plastic Surgery and several flat-screen TVs. Participants also could go home with a hockey stick signed by all of the Chicago Blackhawks, as well as memorabilia signed by other Chicago sports stars.
"I knew it was going to be super important to me," Spence said. "I was kind of floored by the amazing response from everybody else."
The event will feature live music and a casino room that doles out raffle tickets for prizes. There will be a $20 cover charge.
Those who want to help the cause but cannot attend are invited to donate on the event's website.