Welwyn Garden City neighbours rally round to help paralysed 22-year-old
PUBLISHED: 09:27 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:27 15 February 2018
Neighbours of a young Welwyn Garden City man paralysed by a diving accident are rallying round to raise money to help with his medical needs.
Gerard Murphy is paralysed in both legs, arms, wrists and fingers after hitting his head on the rocky bottom of a lake in Sweden while on a summer break last year.
Currently at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, the 22-year-old has been categorised as a C4 tetraplegic.
Medics say his nerve endings are completely severed so unfortunately there is no hope of regaining movement in his limbs.
His dad Martin said: “He discovered this on his birthday.
“He was hoping there would be some joy down the end of the road.
“He said ‘dad I don’t mind losing my legs’ but losing his hands and fingers has made him quite debilitated.
“But he’s learning and adapting.”
Processes are now underway for Gerard to leave Stoke Mandeville Hospital and an initial date in March has been mentioned.
The Murphy family’s nextdoor neighbour Norman Jennings, in Thumbswood, has organised a fundraising curry night at The Raj to raise money to buy much-needed equipment for Gerard.
Martin said: “Norman said to me at Christmas ‘I really want to so something for your boy’.
“Gerard’s a little bit overwhelmed by it.
“There he is in a hospital bed and people are doing all these things for him.
“It’s just a shame he can’t be there.
“Since we had that phone call, our world has been turned upside down, but the amount of support we have got has been quite astonishing.”
Father-of-two Norman Jennings, 58, who works for Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Martin came round to see me and wanted to talk about it and when he told me I felt totally numb.
“Rightly or wrongly, I thought that could have been one of my sons.
“It really shook me.
“Gerard is such a bright young man, very sociable and sporty.
“We have been there for them and talked, but I actually wanted to do something more than that and raise some money by doing something locally.”
Mr Jennings said it was “incredibly kind” of The Raj to offer the food free of charge.
“The Raj is very much a local restaurant and part of the community.
“They’re giving the food at no cost and that’s a tremendous thing to do.”
The night is sold out, which means as much as £1,500 may be raised.
Friends of Gerard, who was studying geography and Arabic in Exeter, have raised an incredible £74,000 through a JustGiving page.
To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/we-love-gerard-murphy