Thursday 29 September 2016

Berkeley balcony collapse survivor has 'defied odds' and now wants to go back to university

Published 14/04/2016 | 16:41

Eoin Thompson and Niamh Durcan joined Nicky and Jenny on the Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene on 2fm
Eoin Thompson and Niamh Durcan joined Nicky and Jenny on the Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene on 2fm
Aoife Beary

The young woman who suffered horrific injuries while celebrating her 21st birthday when a balcony collapsed in Berkeley, California has “defied the odds” and now wants to go back to college .

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Aoife Beary, from Blackrock, South Dublin, was lucky to survive after the shocking tragedy which claimed six lives.

However, she suffered severe head injuries during the fall and was under treatment at a hospital in Santa Clara between July and September last year.

Despite initially being in a wheelchair, Ms Beary is now walking.

The six students who lost their lives in the tragic accident, top left to bottom right: Lorcan Miller, Eoghan Culligan, Nick Schuster, Ashley Donohoe, Eimear Walsh and Olivia Burke
The six students who lost their lives in the tragic accident, top left to bottom right: Lorcan Miller, Eoghan Culligan, Nick Schuster, Ashley Donohoe, Eimear Walsh and Olivia Burke

Now her pals are putting on a special ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ show to raise money for her rehabilitation.

Speaking on the Nicky Byrne Show, her friends Eoin Thompson and Niamh Durcan, said she is recovering well.

Eoin told hosts Nicky and Jenny Greene: Eoin: “Aoife is doing brilliantly. She recovered very well, very quick.

“Everyone is very surprised. And now Aoife wants to go back to college so that’s what we’re fundraising for, to help her do that.”

Students Eoghan Culligan, Lorcan Miller, Nick Schuster, Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke and Olivia's Irish-American cousin Ashley Donohoe died after falling to the ground when the fourth-floor balcony gave way last June.

Seven other Irish students, Aoife Beary, Clodagh Cogley, Sean Fahey, Conor Flynn, Jack Halpin, Niall Murray and Hannah Waters, were seriously injured.

Niamh, who went to school with Aoife in Loreto Foxrock, confirmed that Aoife will be there on the night of the fundraiser on April 23 “front row and centre, critiquing everybody”.

Radio DJ Adrian Kennedy is presenting the show and the confirmed judges are Miriam O’Callaghan, Jeff Minogue, Eoghan McDermott and David McCullagh.

Eoin was actually in the apartment in Berkeley on the night the balcony collapsed killing six students.

“I’m doing fine. I was really lucky. Shocking night, not great. It’s great to see Aoife doing so well.

“In such a short space of time. We go out and Aoife is with us.

“We don’t really know details of the injuries but when we see her you wouldn’t think that this time six months ago she was fighting for her life.”

Niamh added: “What we do know is that she is defying the odds and she is looking great.”

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