Sunday 17 December 2017

'His story just goes on and on and people don’t forget him' - 5,000 balloons to be released today to help assault victim

Shane Grogan from Tuam, Co Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan
Shane Grogan from Tuam, Co Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan

Cormac Fitzgerald

The skies will turn multi-coloured above Galway this afternoon as thousands of balloons are released in a fundraiser for a man who was left with brain damage after an assault three years ago.

Shane Grogan (25) was left in a vegetative state when he was hit in the head with a brick during a night out in Tuam, Co Galway, in August, 2012.

His family set up the Care for Shane fund in order to raise money for his extensive hospital bills and the latest event is the Great Balloon Race, where 5,000 balloons will be released into air above Tuam.

All the balloons will be individually tagged and the one that’s found the furthest away from Tuam by 6pm on Monday evening will be the winner of a €500 travel voucher.

Whoever finds the balloon will also be rewarded with a One4All voucher.

The balloons cost €5 each and can be bought from local shops in Tuam, online, or from various volunteers.

Read more: Doctors offer hope for man who suffered catastrophic brain injuries in late night attack 

Joe Grogan, Shane’s father, told that the support for the event has been huge and that he is humbled by the kindness of people since Shane’s injuries. 

“We’ve been up since 6.30pm filling the balloons - we’re just trying to hold on to them all now,” he said.

“There was about 30 of us out - kids and all - so it’s been great fun so far.

“It’s been amazing these last few years the amount of work people have put into these fundraisers - we’ve been very humbled by it all,” he said.

“It’s amazing. His story just goes on and on and people don’t forget him.”

So far, the Care for Shane fund has raised over €120,000 through various fundraising efforts.

The fund was initially set up to help get Shane home to his family house, but for now is focused on getting him the best care possible.

He is currently in England receiving treatment and will return to Tuam in a few weeks.

"There's someone coming from over there to train up the staff in nursing home in Tuam to continue the treatment which is ongoing," said Mr Grogan.

The balloons will be released from Palace Grounds, Tuam, at three o'clock this afternoon.

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