'You supported us financially while I was fighting to stay alive' - man left critical following attack in Australia returns home after €21k raised
A man seriously injured in a one-punch attack in Australia on New Year's Eve has returned home to Ireland.
Belfast-native Michael Hyndman was celebrating in Sydney with his fiancée Clar and brother Christopher when he was attacked.
The 23-year-old was left fighting for his life.
Doctors put him in a coma and he had emergency surgery on New Year's Day.
He had moved to Sydney last September with his partner for a new job as a quantity surveyor.
A fundraising campaign saw £18,932 (€21,547) raised to help get him home.
Following his return to Northern Ireland, he thanked family, friends and the public for their help.
Writing on the GoFundMe page that was set up by his family, Michael wrote: "It’s crazy to think just 105 days ago my horrible nightmare began. My future, which I thought I had mapped out before me, was hanging in the balance after just one punch left me fighting for my life.
"The people I love were left sitting by my bed side (and for many, left sitting back home in Ireland) waiting on me to wake up, hoping and praying that I actually would."
Michael, after having two surgeries, received the news on April 13 that he was clear to fly home to continue his recovery. He arrived back home on April 21.
He added: "Looking back, there is no doubt in my mind that my recovery has been phenomenal. And if I’m totally honest, I don’t think this would have been the case if it wasn’t for my friends, my family, colleagues and the many selfless people who don’t even really know me, yet donated to my cause.
"I go through the list of names nearly every day. I feel nothing but the utmost respect and heartfelt gratitude toward you.
"You supported us financially while I was initially fighting just to stay alive, throughout my life changing surgeries and even through many weeks of tough rehabilitation."
Michael said he also wanted to take the opportunity to raise awareness about the consequences of throwing one punch.
He said: "It was just one punch that started this nightmare 105 days ago and almost cost me my life.
"It was just one punch that not only put an abrupt end to our new year celebrations but has completely overshadowed, what was to be ‘our new and exciting chapter’ in our life.
"Thankfully I am here to tell the tale and I hope that by sharing my story people will realise the dangers involved.
"I hope that I can prevent, even one person, from throwing that, life altering/ in some cases fatal, punch in the future. Life is too precious."