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Life-changing surgery for man paralysed in attack

A MAN who was rendered blind and left in a wheelchair following a vicious assault is anxiously awaiting a "life-changing" phonecall from the US that could restore his vision and allow him walk unaided.

Brian Hogan (34) from Ballykeefe, Co Limerick, is hoping groundbreaking stem-cell treatment from a world specialist will help get his life back on track.

He is waiting for a bed for the procedure -- which could take up to two months -- from Dr Gabriel Lasala, who is based near New Orleans. It is expected to cost up to €21,000 and a series of fund-raisers are planned to help with the cost.

"It's exciting, but I have to play the waiting game. My name is on the top of the list, so I could get the call tomorrow or next week," Mr Hogan said.

"If I get the right result, it will be worth it. It will be life-changing. I'm hoping to obtain some eyesight, which is my main drawback, and the cells will be injected into my body, so it could help my mobility as well."

Brian went into a three-month coma after suffering internal bleeding of the brain when he was punched and hit his head on a footpath in Nottingham, England, in 2009.

"At the age of 33, I had to learn how to walk and talk again, but I'm doing it. I'm getting through it."

Confined to a wheelchair, Brian lives at Beech Lodge Nursing Home in Bruree, Co Limerick, while his parents remodel their home for him. His recovery is being overseen by Headway -- an organisation that provides rehabilitative services for people with brain injuries.

"Before my attack I used to be very, very independent. Now I have to wait and be patient and it is tough," he said.

"I was always a grafter. I was always busy. Sitting all day in a wheelchair isn't my scene."

Donations to Brian's medical treatment can be made to Bank of Ireland account number: 48010494, sort code: 90-07-62.

Irish Independent