WILSHIRE BLVD — Santa Monica sports enthusiasts are rallying behind Bryan Stow, a paramedic and Giants fan who is hospitalized with a brain injury after being beaten at Dodger Stadium several months ago.
When Philadelphia Phillies fan Debbie Axel first heard about Stow’s beating, she felt “sick to her stomach.”
“I felt horrible for Bryan and his family,” Axel said.
She was moved to act.
She rounded up her fellow Phillies fans, who’ve formed a tight-knit community through the years at their sanctuary: The Shack Bar & Restaurant, and began organizing a fundraiser.
Stow’s two sisters, mom and niece will be attending the event taking place today at 6:30 p.m.
Axel explained that, usually, she and her fellow Phillies buddies make an annual pilgrimage to Dodger Stadium when their favorite team is in town. But, this time around, instead of watching their beloved Phillies take on the Dodgers tonight, they collectively decided that their time would be better spent raising money for the Bryan Stow Fund, a fund that pools money for Stow’s family and medical bills.
The Shack has been supportive of charitable causes in the past, said Jon Burk, a loyal customer for nearly a decade. He echoed Axel’s sentiments as he explained that the business was more than willing to participate and host the fundraiser.
“Philly fans care very much about our team, but we also care about the fans that watch the teams,” Burk said. “We see Bryan as a fellow fan, and felt the need to step in and do something.”
Burk has been working with Axel to develop the silent auction, raffle, wine tasting and meet and greet to take place tonight. Donated items range from a signed script of “True Blood” to wine baskets to Dodger tickets.
Stand-up comedians will begin to take the stage at 8:30 p.m. Alonzo Bodden, “Last Comic Standing” winner and star of Showtime’s “Who’s Paying Attention,” headlines.
Axel expects a full house of about 150 people, and hopes to raise as much money as possible for Stow and his family.
The timing of the fundraiser coincidentally takes place a day before the two primary suspects in the beating are to be arraigned.
The police now suspect that Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood could have also been responsible for several other beatings that day.
Both men have criminal records, police said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report