Megan Sullivan, who lost her brother Alex in the theater, is an integral part of Aurora Rise. The nonprofit, which was founded by the owner of local comic book store All C's Collectibles, provides funds to victims and survivors who apply for help with specific expenses, such as rent and utility bills. But the more time that elapses since the shooting, Sullivan says, the more difficult it is to raise money.
"It definitely is getting harder to fund-raise for it because so many other tragic events have happened since then," she says. "It's hard to describe to people how it's still an ongoing struggle for the people impacted by it."What people experienced, and especially the loss of my brother, isn't something that just goes away in a year and a half. It's a daily struggle and it will be a lifelong struggle. At this point, there are a lot of people just coming out of the fog and realizing what has happened, and because of that, they are suffering. And being able to help them out in times of need, to make them whole again for the time being, is so important."
The shooter's trial is currently scheduled to begin in mid-October and Sullivan says that as it approaches, many victims will need additional help. "We're preparing for a very lengthy process," Sullivan says of the trial, which could go on for months. "It's not only emotionally draining but also...it's tied into financial constraints, because you can't work as much as you hope to during that time, and that turns into that you can't pay rent."
This will be the third superhero movie fundraiser hosted by Aurora Rise. The organization previously screened Man of Steel and Thor: The Dark World. The reason has to do with Sullivan's brother, Alex, who was one of twelve people killed when the shooter opened fire during a screening of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises at the Aurora Century 16 theater in July 2012. Alex loved superhero flicks and when the trailer for the Man of Steel came on before The Dark Knight Rises, his sister says he stood up and cheered.
Tonight's benefit screening of Captain America: The Winter Soldier starts at 7 p.m. at The Movie Tavern, 18605 East Hampden Avenue in Aurora. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Aurora Rise website. Watch a trailer for the movie below.