Natasha McShane, the Irish student who was beaten with a baseball bat during a robbery in Chicago, has opened her eyes and briefly come out of her drug induced coma.

Natasha "is staring into oblivion," her grandmother Bernadette McShane said from her home in Northern Ireland. "They say it's early yet," she said of McShane completely awakening from her medically induced coma. She was speaking to the Chicago Tribune.

McShane, a part-time bartender who is finishing her master’s degree, and her friend Stacy Jurich, 24, were beaten by a robber wielding a bat who stole their purses in the early hours of April 23.

"We've got good faith Natasha will come out of it," said her uncle Mervyn McShane from McShane's hometown, Silverbridge.

Despite McShane opening her eyes, her father, Liam, still "had a bad day," Mervyn McShane said. "He soaks up all the bad."

Doctors have said the worst-case scenario is Natasha McShane may not walk or communicate again, her uncle said.

Bernadette McShane said it was very difficult to watch her 'lively bubbly" granddaughter hooked up to machines. She said it is difficult for her son to sit at McShane's bedside.

"It's hard on him looking up at Tasha," Bernadette McShane said. "Every father wants to protect their daughter."

A couple, Heriberto Verimontes and Mandy Cruz  have been arrested for the crime. Police claim they hit Natasha and her friend  in order to get money to buy drugs. Verimontes has a 13-page rap sheet.

Liam and Sheila McShane have been taking part in daily prayer vigils for her recovery, aided by local priests and other clergy.

Meanwhile, there was a massive turnout for a fundraiser for Natalie held at Casey Moran’s, a bar on North Clark and monies raised will go towards the student’s care in Northwestern Medical Hospital, the Chicago medical institution in which she remains in intensive care.

The McShanes have issued a statement saying, ‘We want to thank the people of Chicago, we’re overwhelmed by the generosity of people, the kindness of people we don’t even know. You wouldn’t get as much in Ireland, the generosity they give here. We think it’s very sincere and genuine.’