Sunday 4 December 2016

Friends of balcony collapse survivors plan to cycle distance to Berkeley and back in 72 hour fundraiser

Cormac Fitzgerald

Published 22/08/2015 | 12:01

Clodagh Cogley in a photograph taken in hospital in the US
Clodagh Cogley in a photograph taken in hospital in the US
Aoife Beary
Conor Flynn
Sean Fahey
Jack Halpin pictured in his hospital bed in California
Hannah Waters was injured in the balcony accident in Berkeley

Friends of the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse plan to cycle the distance to Berkeley and back in order to raise much needed medical funds for the survivors.

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The 72-hour cycle for Berkeley will be held on September 3 at Dundrum Shopping Centre.

Participants will cycle 13 fixed bicycles non-stop for 72 hours, covering an approximate distance of 16,310Km.

The fundraiser is being organised by those close to the victims of the balcony collapse and will raise money for the Berkeley Medical Fund, which was set up to help pay the medical bills of the survivors.

Families and friends attend a memorial vigil one month after the balcony collapse which killed six Irish students in Berkeley, California
Families and friends attend a memorial vigil one month after the balcony collapse which killed six Irish students in Berkeley, California

Six people died and seven were seriously injured when a fourth-floor balcony collapsed in Berkeley, California, in June.

The victims were living and working in California for the summer on a J1 Visa, when the balcony they were standing on collapsed while they were celebrating the birthday of Aoife Beary, one of the survivors.

An initial investigation suggested that dry rot in the balcony had caused the collapse, but the matter is still under investigation

Of the seven survivors, at least four have returned to Ireland, including Clodagh Cogley, Jack Halpin, Sean Fahey and Conor Flynn. 

Aoife Beary suffered traumatic brain injury in the incident, and her family say that she is still recovering at the Santa Clara Medical Centre in California.

It is believed that Niall Murray and Hannah Waters are also still recovering in California.

The six victims of the tragic Berkeley balcony collapse
The six victims of the tragic Berkeley balcony collapse

Broken limbs, a severed spinal cord, shattered knees, cracked ribs and punctured lungs are among the injuries the survivors have suffered.

The six students who died in the collapse were Eimear Walsh, Ashley Donohue, Olivia Burke, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcan Miller and Eoghan Culligan.

Kevin Dunne, one of the organisers of the cycling fundraiser, told Independent.ie that the cycle was to raise money for the injured survivors but was also to honour and remember those who had died.

“It’s going to be for the victims of the tragedy who are still alive and receiving treatment in hospital, and it’s also going to be to honour those who have passed away who were close to us,” he said.

There are a total of 468 slots to fill and Kevin said that so far about 200 have been filled.

“We’ll get it full. Sports clubs from UCD are looking to do the overnight cycles so we’ll get it full,” he said.

It’s free to sign up to cycle, and cyclists are encouraged to raise money for their efforts. 

Anyone who wants to sign up or donate money can email cycleforberkeley@gmail.com or visit the Cycle for Berkeley Facebook page.

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