The Co. Cavan footballer who was viciously assaulted on the way home from a night out in the Woodlawn area of the Bronx four weeks ago speaks out about the outpouring of kindness she has received from the Irish community in New York and Ireland.
Alisha Jordan was attacked as she walked on Katonah Avenue in the Bronx in the early hours of Saturday, July 14. She was with a friend after a night out. She was unexpectedly hit in the face with a concrete block by a man who was along the avenue. He appeared to be talking to himself. He was hanging outside Country Bank. Her friend was unharmed.
Jordan suffered a number of injuries to her forehead, nose and teeth. Two weeks after the attack the 21-year-old had reconstructive surgery on her face.
Right now the blonde haired, blue eyed, beauty is finally coming around to looking like her old self after weeks of bruising and swelling. With the help of her family, friends and the support from the Irish community Alisha is well on her way along the road to recovery.
The Co. Meath native spoke to the Irish Central Community News from her home in The Bronx last week while she attempted to bake cookies. Jordan spoke highly of the generosity of the Irish community and how they have reached out to help one of their own.
"Where do I even start? Like it started with just a few texts and calls from anyone really close to me. The Sunday after it happened I spoke of how we were going to keep the incident quiet and give no information to the media. And within just a few days, boom! I was hearing I was front page in the newspapers at home,” shared Jordan.
“My family couldn't leave our house in Meath without being hounded by reporters looking for information. It was the same here. My place of work in White Plains and my friend and Cavan footballer Rosie O'Reilly were in-undated with calls and visits from the media.
"So many papers have called me a GAA star or a soccer star. I'm not a star. I think it's so funny,” she laughs.
Without even realizing it Alisha has become a celebrity to a certain extent after bravely talking about the horrific incident that summer’s night in July. A post from a friend on Alisha's Facebook page joked, "Who knew that when you came to NY you would be so famous!"
Alisha became well known because people were shocked and concerned about the attack. People said over and over no one should have to endure what she has had to endure over the last couple of weeks.
“My Facebook page even shut down. It wouldn't let me log in for a couple of days because so many people had been clicking onto my page and liking status updates about my progress,” she said.
Jordan said she has often been left speechless many times while walking on the street or out and about around Woodlawn.
“Recently a man came up to me in the Coffee Shop on McLean Avenue and handed me money. He would not tell me his name but he said that no one should go through what I went through. The Coffee Shop has also paid for a meal I had there with my mother and sister. I was in the Kosey Corner on McLean Avenue a few days ago and a stranger paid for my food. I can't walk down the street without random people either giving me money or showing their concern and support. Seriously, to all these people- I thank you so much."
Any money Jordan has been given is being put into a bank account that has been set up to pay for her medical bills.
“My manager in the bar where I work in White Plains has been so good to me. He has kept my job open for me and is allowing me to go back to work whenever I feel ready. He has also said he is putting money away for me every week which I appreciate very much," said Jordan appreciatively.
Danny Macs bar on McLean Avenue sponsor the Cavan GAA club that Jordan plays for in New York. “I cannot say enough about how they have helped me. We are in the process of arranging a benefit to go on all day in Danny Macs in November. We are hoping to maybe raffle some of the signed jerseys I received from Ireland and stuff to raise money."
The young Meath girl’s GAA club at home in Skryne have a button on their website where one can donate money to the 'Alisha fund' from anywhere in the world. Anything from 10 euro and upwards (can be donated).
“They have been amazing. The club has organized a GAA match to be held amongst all the stars in ladies football across Ireland. They are also organizing a fundraiser in The Palace in Navan on August 17. The clubs secretary drove to every club in Meath to sell tickets. I cannot express how thankful I am for everything they are doing. The Meath senior team have even sent me a signed jersey,” Jordan said.
Other GAA associations outside of Meath have also shown their support. “The Kilkenny hurling team are sending me a signed jersey also. Fermanagh Ladies have sent me a jersey. Lurgan, a Cavan club, have been in contact with me wishing me well. The gorgeous Tommy Bow even sent me a signed scarf of his own. I just cannot put it all into words.
"Any of the soccer teams I played for in Ireland have also been so supportive. Teams from Dublin and Dundalk are arranging games against each other to raise money."
Jordan wants to especially thank Rosie O’Reilly – Aisling Irish Community Center honoree for 2012- for looking after her since the horrific incident.
“Words cannot describe how good she has been to me. She helped my mother and my sister come to New York in the days following my accident. Rosie and one of my fellow Cavan team mates here travelled to Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago where the GAA there hosted a fundraiser for me. They raised over $3,000 at a Beef & Beer night. I could not believe it," she added.
Jordan is extremely optimistic and positive about the road ahead of her. Her face has healed and she is getting her teeth fixed after a friend told her about a generous dentist who wants to help her for free.
"I just want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart back in Ireland and everyone in the Irish community here in New York- my home.”
However the Aisling Center is always warning men and women not to walk home after a night out. They are constantly issuing warnings to the community about safety suggesting the safest method of getting home is a taxi.