Fundraiser Helps Man Brutally Beaten in St. Paul

Updated: 01/14/2014 7:38 PM By: Katherine Johnson

Ray Widstrand was walking home late one August night when police say he was beaten and left unconscious by at least five people on the East Side of St. Paul.

Ray's family says he is making a lot of progress. He is using a wheelchair but is starting to take some steps. Just this week he started putting sentences together. But the recovery process with a brain injury is day to day.

Widstrand has had two surgeries for brain swelling and skull fractures with a third scheduled for November. He is getting intensive physical therapy at Minneapolis-based Courage Kenny Rehab Institute. Although he's taken huge steps forward since his August attack, recovering from a severe brain injury is exhausting.  
"To have this happen - it seems just - why?" said his mother, Linda Widstrand.  "It's just, it seems unreal.  It just doesn't seem real."

Tips from witnesses led to five arrests: 19-year-old Issac Maiden and four juveniles. Trials for the kids, two of whom are are just 15-years-old, are underway now.

Family friends held a big fundraiser Saturday at the Goodrich Golf Dome in Maplewood.

All of the money raised will go to help the Widstrand family pay for Ray's surgeries and rehab.