Irish community rally around tragic bike accident victim in NYC
Kerry native loses part of leg after bike accident in New York
He underwent several surgeries in that hospital and was finally transferred to New York Presbyterian a few days after the accident. There several other surgeries were performed, including many skin grafts.
“These were some of the most painful surgeries,” he recalls.
On August 10, his wife’s birthday, Flavin underwent major surgery to have his right leg amputated from the knee down.
“The doctors and nurses were amazing. They did everything in their power to save my leg but infections had gotten so bad that they had no choice,” he said.
Flavin, a construction worker by trade, spent the next three months in the hospital trying to learn to use one leg for day-to-day activities. He underwent many more surgeries and had time to come to terms with the loss.
His final two weeks in care were spent in Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains. In total he spent three and a half months in and out of operating theaters and physical therapy rooms. And the surgeries are not over yet.
“They may still need to amputate some more of my leg so we’ll see,” he said while pointing out a phone-like machine attached to his right thigh that sends waves into his femur to stimulate it in an effort to heal the damage caused. He will also have to undergo surgery to his left knee which was damaged in the accident.
Flavin said he is now able to manage his pain, but the worst discomfort of all is what he calls the “phantom pain.”
“This affects me mainly at night when I’m trying to sleep. The brain thinks the leg is still there causing a lot of phantom pain. It’s definitely the worst part,” he said.
Flavin now spends his days indoors. He calls Ireland for hours each day to pass the time. He uses a walker and a wheelchair to get around.
His apartment, which has steps both inside and outside, has been modified to make it accessible.
He looks forward to visits from his friends on a regular basis and is grateful for their time and support.
“My friends, wife and family have been so supportive and I couldn’t get to where I am today without them,” he said.
“Even when I was in the hospital people that I would never have expected came to see me, and it gave me a real lift.”
Flavin is also thankful to the Kerryman’s Association, of which he is a member, for their ongoing support and to the Celtic Bike Club of New York.
Looking ahead, Flavin hopes by the end of the year to have a prosthetic and resume some sort of normal physical life again.
“I’m really looking forward to getting to walk by myself again, getting that independence back that was stolen from me that day in July, but it will take a lot of practice, physio, time and patience but it will come,” he said positively.
A benefit will take place at the Kerry Hall (305 McLean Avenue) in Yonkers on Sunday, January 29 to raise as much funds as possible to help with Flavin’s mounting medical costs.
Mass is scheduled to be said by Father Brian Coffey at noon, followed by an afternoon filled with music, kids entertainment and fun.
An auction will be held at 6 p.m. for various items donated by people. Numerous raffles will take place throughout the day for many dinners, a Kindle Fire and an iPad.
Entertainment will be provided by local bands including Mary Courtney, Tommy Flynn, Padraig Allen and the McLean Avenue Band, Mary G, Dessie and Marie and the Pride of Moyvane. Rock band Big
Girl’s Blouse has also volunteered their time for the evening. Kids entertainment will be from 2-5 p.m.
Auction items include a 2011 team signed Kilkenny hurling jersey, a signed Kerry kersey, a handcrafted motorcycle and a Long Kesh handmade cross. Bids are now being taken on auction items.
Checks can be written to Family Flavin and mailed to P.J. Flavin Fundraiser, c/o Kerry Hall, 305 McLean Avenue, Yonkers, New York 10705.
Alternatively donations can be made directly to any Chase bank. Account name: Family Flavin. Account number: 996131413.
For raffle tickets, donations, sponsorship or any other inquiries call Donnchadh Costello 914-513-8791, Joe Collins 914-804-4206, Kevin Foley 914-473-0739, or April Drew 914-562-5097. Log onto email@example.com for more information.
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