Tuesday 20 March 2018

Cousin of Berkeley balcony survivor Aoife describes her long road to recovery

Aoife Beary
Aoife Beary

Sharon McGowan

A cousin of injured Berkeley survivor Aoife Beary has said the Dublin student faces a "long road" of recovery from the injuries she suffered in last month's balcony collapse.

Eimear O'Doherty, who is a first cousin of the Blackrock woman, said Aoife (21) was "doing well" since being moved out of intensive care to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Centre for rehabilitation.

However, the extent of the former Loreto College Foxrock student's brain injury is still unknown.

"She is doing well and has been moved out of ICU. She has her good days and her bad days," Eimear explained

"The biggest concern is her brain injury so that's going to be a long road."

The primary school teacher (24) jetted Stateside to be with Aoife for 10 days after finding out she had been injured when the balcony of her apartment gave way as she celebrated her 21st birthday in June.

While the J1 student survived the fall, which claimed the lives of six others, she was in a coma until earlier this month and Mayo native Eimear admitted she is unsure whether Aoife recognised her when she visited her in hospital.

"I think she did but it's hard to say. Nobody can tell the extent of her brain injury," she said.

Eimear added that she briefly met survivors Hannah Waters (21) and Clodagh Cogley (21) while visiting Aoife in the Californian rehab centre.

"Both are doing well, they are very busy in rehab," she said.

The young teacher paid tribute to other J1 students in San Francisco who have been incredibly supportive of Aoife and the other injured victims, and also the emergency services who attended the scene of the collapse.

"One female fire fighter told me that she was at the scene within four minutes of the collapse.

"She still feels so strongly about the accident that she plans to visit the injured in hospital."

Eimear gave details of a fundraising event for Aoife that will take place this Saturday in Old Wesley Rugby Club in Donnybrook in Dublin.

Rugby players including Ireland star Sean O'Brien and former Munster captain Donal Canniffe will take part in a friendly tag rugby tournament, sponsored by Leinster Rugby and the IRFU, to raise funds to cover Aoife's rehabilitation in California.

Irish Independent

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