Friends raise €40k to help young Irish woman battling for life in New Zealand
A COMMUNITY has rolled up its sleeves and raised €40,000 to help a young Irish woman battle for her life.
Debra Drury (24) from Canningstown, Cootehill, Co Cavan, was critically injured in a fall from a giant rope swing in New Zealand early last month.
She suffered head and spinal injuries when she fell about 10 metres from the top of the swing's arc.
It was the third serious accident at the public site in Wellington since 2009.
Debra had been in Wellington for about three months as part of a gap-year trip visiting Australia and New Zealand. She remains in an induced coma and members of her family have since travelled to be by her hospital bedside.
Prayer services for healing in support of Debra and her family have been held at the family's local Kilmount Presbyterian Church and at churches throughout the area in a display of community solidarity.
The young Cavan woman had been greatly enjoying living and working in New Zealand for the three months up to the time of her tragic accident.
She had travelled there with a friend and had already been on the swing once when tragedy struck. Witnesses said Debra landed head first on the hard ground below.
The Drury family said in a statement that they did not believe that she was aware of the danger of the swing, or the fact that two other people had been seriously injured at the site in the past five years.
They have also called on Wellington City Council to be proactive in preventing any more injuries occurring in the area of the controversial swing.
A series of fundraisers have already been held in Co Cavan to help Debra's family defray the high cost of her medical care while in New Zealand. These included a dance, charity fun run, as well as a variety of other events.
It is planned to continue raising the necessary finances to ensure her family can remain with her in her battle to recover.
Fundraising organiser, Aidan Fitzpatrick said that at a time like this, it was only right for communities to rally around.
"It's going to be a long haul for Debra and a financial strain on her family and we need to come up with as much money as we can as quickly as possible.
"It will need a lot of fundraising, but it would if the backing could ease the pain. It is important for communities to get together to help.
"They are a well-respected family in the community and everybody is trying to help," said Aidan.