Monday 23 October 2017

5,000 balloons mark fifth anniversary of unprovoked attack that left Shane (24) brain damaged

Shane and his family at the balloon launch
Shane and his family at the balloon launch

Claire Fox

Over 5,000 balloons were launched into the sky in Tuam, Co Galway yesterday, in the third annual balloon race for a man who suffered brain injuries as a result of an unprovoked assault in 2012.

Shane Grogan, was the victim of an unprovoked brick attack during Galway Race week five years ago and was left with severe brain damage at the age of 24.

Today marks the fifth anniversary of Shane's attack. Shane's father, Joe who set up the Care For Shane Foundation, told Independent.ie that the balloon launch helps "distract" the family from a difficult week.

"It's great to distract us. It was five years ago today but you carry on like it was any other day. We'll watch the Galway match later today and hopefully we'll win," he said.

The balloon launch
The balloon launch

Joe added that there were over 500 people at the launch which took place in the Palace Grounds in Tuam, including 40 volunteers.

He said: "It was a fantastic day. We had a huge crowd and the weather stayed dry for the time. Shane managed to go for a little while and he launched the first two balloons. He was in good form."

2017 Eurovision entrant Brendan Murray entertained the crowd in The Abbey in Tuam after the launch. 

Following the launch at 1pm yesterday, the balloons were later seen in Aughrim, Co Wicklow at 8pm that evening.

After spending five years in hospital, Shane's family received planning permission in July to build a new house on the site of an old dwelling on the outskirts of Tuam.

Funds from the balloon race will be used to adapt the house to make it accessible for Shane and for his continued care.

The balloon launch
The balloon launch

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