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Kevin Neary, who suffered a life-threatening neck injury, will be released from the hospital in approximately three weeks.

The 2004 College graduate was shot in the neck during an attempted robbery last November in the Northern Liberties area of Philadelphia.

The suspect, 20-year-old Christopher Easter, was arrested on Nov. 22 and will plead his case on Mar. 8. Easter’s preliminary court hearing was on Dec. 9, and he is currently still in custody with a $5-million bail, according to Neary’s brother JP.

“Kevin wants to make sure that no one gets hurt like that again,” JP said.

Neary, who is now dependent on a ventilator to breathe, is slowly making progress. He is controlling his bowels, learning how to write with a penstick, strengthening his neck muscles and controlling a power chair with a straw.

“I think he’s been coping well. It’s obviously difficult, but at the same time, he’s been positive and jokes around,” JP said.

In the next couple of months, Neary is expected to undergo surgery that will attempt to transplant his nerves down to his diaphragm so that he can eventually breathe on his own.

“There are no guarantees and we’re not sure if it’s covered by insurance, but we’ll get it regardless since it’s going to give him the best chance to be as strong as he can in the future,” JP said. “We’re optimistic.”

In order to fund medical expenses and other expenses not covered by insurance, Neary’s family has been holding a series of fundraisers, with the most recent being yesterday’s bowling tournament at North Bowl. The next three will be on Feb. 4, Mar. 16 and May 6.

Depending on the results from the surgery, Neary might be able to attend the last two fundraisers, JP said.

JP is grateful for the personal notes that his family has received from individuals such as Penn President Amy Gutmann and from the Dean of the School of Nursing Afaf Meleis “Everyone at Penn’s been really fantastic,” he said.

“Our family, community and even perfect strangers have been so supportive and we can’t thank them enough. We keep fighting for Kevin, and that’s what’s important.”

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