A Cape Breton woman who has helped raise nearly $21,000 for the victim of a brutal beating in North Sydney says he's slowly improving in hospital.
Julia Hawkins started an online fundraising effort after Shawn Jack, who spends much of the year at a campsite in a wooded area behind a grocery store in North Sydney, was attacked earlier this month.
Jack was taken to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax with serious head injuries and has been there since the July 14 assault.
Hawkins said Jack's uncle shared some promising news on his condition.
"He said he's making some small improvements. He's sitting up in a chair for some small periods of time," Hawkins said Tuesday.
"They think he's aware of what's going on around him but the doctors told them that 10 minutes after they leave, he may forget everything."
Hawkins said the uncle has told her Jack does not seem to remember much about the attack.
Cape Breton Regional Police have said they believe a wrench was used during the assault. Six people, ranging in age from 16 to 47, have been charged in relation to the case.
Hawkins said it's too early to know whether Jack will be permanently impaired.
"I guess he cracked a smile when the nurses were making jokes," she said.
"They said he doesn't have much movement on his right side but they're still not sure how it's going to affect him long term."
Hawkins said at first her family hoped the money they raised would make Jack's travelling and camping life more comfortable, but as the extent of his injuries becomes clearer they're hoping the money will help his recovery.
She plans to hold on to the money until she can turn it over to Jack or a family member.
Hawkins said Jack's uncle plans to visit Cape Breton next month to meet her and others who've reached out to the Jack family since the assault.