Friends fundraising after Welwyn Garden City man paralysed in horrific accident
PUBLISHED: 13:59 18 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:01 18 October 2017
A Welwyn Garden City student's friends and family are fundraising after a horrific accident left him paralysed from the neck down.
Gerard Murphy, 22, was on a summer break in Sweden when he dived into a lake and misjudged its depth, hitting his head on the rocky bottom.
His friends pulled him from the water before he was rushed to hospital with a broken neck and fractured spine.
Two weeks later, Gerard – who was studying geography and Arabic in Exeter – was airlifted to Stevenage’s Lister Hospital and later Addenbrooke’s, which specialises in spinal injuries.
He is currently continuing his rehabilitation at Stoke Mandeville Hospital for paralysis of his legs, wrists and hands, with doctors fearing he may never walk again.
Gerard’s best friend, Alex Jundi, said: “Despite the horror of the accident, Gerard remains his positive, upbeat self, and is determined to make as much progress as possible.
“He is the most amazing guy. He has the ability to capture a room with his jokes – he is extremely intelligent and so positive.
“When Gerard left the Lister Hospital the nurses cried, which is testament to how well-liked and warm he is.”
Alex has decided to set up a JustGiving crowdfunding page to help Gerard adjust to his injuries, which has been shared over 800 times on Facebook and raised £17,000 within two days of launching.
He added: “The accident has naturally had a seismic effect on Gerard’s life, as well as the lives of his friends and family.
“I set up the JustGiving page to help pay for all the things he will need in the future. This could be a wheelchair, adjustments to his accommodation, technology or anything else.”
He continued: “We don’t fully know what Gerard is going to need until he has spent a month at Stoke Mandeville, but he will definitely need lots of support, regular care and specially adapted equipment.
“He cannot use his arms or legs. So far, we have set him up with voice recognition on his iPad so he can watch TV in hospital.”
Alex said Gerard loves sports, Liverpool FC and ultimate frisbee, and intends to complete the final year of his degree when the time is right.
He added: “Gerard is incredibly grateful to those who have donated to the JustGiving page. It has given him the motivation to put in the hard work required during rehab.”
To support the appeal visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/we-love-gerard-murphy