Thursday 26 April 2018

Family of teen left paralysed after freak fall during Storm Emma 'blown away' as fundraiser raises almost €100k

Jack O'Driscoll suffered a serious injury to his spine in the fall on March 1
Jack O'Driscoll suffered a serious injury to his spine in the fall on March 1

Conor McCrave

The family of a teenager who was left paralysed after a freak accident during Storm Emma are "blown away" after a fundraiser raised almost €100,000 in just one week.

Jack O’Driscoll (19) was left paralysed from the chest down after a fall during the severe snow and freezing temperatures earlier this month.

Tragically, the young man suffered a serious injury to his spine in the fall which occurred two hours before the full storm warning came into effect.

The teen fractured his C5 vertebrae in his neck and now faces possibly being left paralysed from the chest down.

Speaking on The Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s RedFM, Jack’s cousin Brian Punch said the family were “absolutely blown away” by the donations they’ve received towards Jack’s medical expenses.

“Even before we set anything up there were people dropping envelopes full of money up to Cork University Hospital. People were texting us and we were like, 'we’ll have to do something here so people will have somewhere to go' and as soon as we set it up it just absolutely took off,” he said.

Accident: Jack O’Driscoll
Accident: Jack O’Driscoll

Read More: Fundraiser for teen left paralysed after freak fall during Storm Emma raises almost €60k in just one day

So far the fund has racked up €97,000 in donations towards an operation that is expected to cost €200,000. The full extent of Jack’s injuries are not fully known yet as he continues to be treated in hospital.

Brian said: “At the moment now, we’re kind of at the stage were we’re waiting for swelling and things to go down. The full extent of the injuries aren’t yet known.

“He has limited movement in his shoulders, upper back and high up in his arms but it is more or less chest down. It will be like that for the next couple of weeks, you just don’t know.”

He described it as a “freak accident” and said it has understandably had a huge impact on Jack.

Brian explained: “Jack was off college, he was out with friends, they were playing in the snow and they were up at soccer pitches.

“They were just jumping into the snow and whatever way he jumped in he didn’t get out.

Jack O'Driscoll (19) is a keen sportsman
Jack O'Driscoll (19) is a keen sportsman

“The friends that he was with they reacted very quickly and they alerted emergency services and also Jack’s dad,” he said.

Speaking about Jack’s outlook now, he said he was been keeping a positive attitude towards his recovery.

“Jack is in good form he is in Mater Hospital in Dublin now at the minute. He’s in a dedicated spinal ward there. All along he’s been positive, he’s upbeat about things, he is determined.”

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