Family and friends of an Irish man who suffered a serious spinal cord injury during the summer in Mexico have raised several hundred thousand euro to help with his recuperation.
So far €174,550 has been raised of the €250,000 goal from close to 5,000 donations, in order to fund new treatments in the hope that 26-year-old Matt Murphy will regain the ability to walk.
The Dubliner was on a boat trip with friends off the Mexican coast when he hit a shallow sandbar while diving into the water, fracturing his C5 vertebrae.
Liam Hegarty and two other friends are organising the fundraiser on behalf of Mr Murphy after he underwent emergency surgery in Mexico.
The young man now has limited function in his arms and cannot control his triceps, hands or lower body. However, doctors say his spinal cord is still intact, giving hope for his recovery.
Mr Hegarty said on the gofundme.com fundraising page that Mr Murphy is the “most kind, adventurous, fun-loving character. A great man for a party who lights up every room.
“For those who know him, he can be a little stubborn and opinionated, but he always makes it his mission to bring happiness to everyone he meets. Being an avid traveller he had decided to go to Mexico to volunteer at a coral reef restoration project and finish his trip with a yoga instructor course.”
Mr Murphy has since been repatriated to Ireland where he was initially treated at the ICU and spinal units in the Mater Hospital and is continuing his treatment at the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH).
Mr Hegarty added: “Both the staff at the Mater, and the doctors, nurses and therapists at the NRH have been amazing. Although he has limited bodily functions, Matt has been making slow progress and is determined to get these back. His positivity has been unshaken throughout.
“The first 12 months of paralysis are monumental to getting body functions back. In order for Matt to recover we need to adopt a more aggressive treatment regime than is possible in Ireland at this time. We are currently in the process of applying for specialist treatment centres including stem cell, exo-skeleton and bio-electric treatments.”
While his family are taking care of his immediate care and adaptations to his home, the fundraisers’ aim is to get Mr Murphy the best available treatment and eventually back on his feet.
Mr Hegarty explained: “At this time we do not have an exact cost as it would depend on the treatment centre but they are normally well in excess of €100,000. Matt will never give up hope.”
Donations can be made on the gofundme page Help Matt Achieve His Goal of Walking Again.