The family of an Irish man who suffered serious injuries after falling from a second-floor balcony in Colombia last year has launched a fresh public appeal to help pay for his treatment.
Eoghan de Cleir, from Kinnity in County Offaly, suffered severe, life-threatening injuries after falling from a balcony during a visit to Colombia last November.
The 40-year-old Offaly native was placed in intensive care on life support after the accident and remained in an induced coma for several months.
His family runs the last remaining shop in the village of Kinnity and has raised more than $33,000 in an online fundraiser with GoFundMe. However, de Cleir's medical expenses continue to climb and are currently in excess of $90,000.
Eoghan's mother Ira has given up her job to care for her son, spending her life savings and borrowing extensively from friends and families to meet his medical needs.
Eoghan has undergone a steady but slow recovery since last November's accident and is now able to feed himself basic meals and communicate some words through writing. He is still unable to talk and requires extensive surgery before he can even begin rehabilitation.
His uncle Sean de Cleir gave an update on his condition and said that Eoghan's mother was struggling under the financial and emotional pressures of looking after her son.
"He is still not in rehab as much more surgery is needed, from major procedures to physical therapy, laser vocal treatments, and speech therapy. This meant he had go back to private healthcare as he needs day and night nurses, and other medical resources. Once he has recovered further, rehabilitation will be possible," Sean de Cleir said.
"It is really stressful for Ira trying to look after him, and at the same time deal with the emotional and financial pressures of ensuring the best treatment possible for Eoghan."
Furthermore, Sean de Cleir said that the family has not been able to organize traditional fundraisers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Under normal circumstances we would already have held a number of activities, from head-shaves, to raffles at event days in Kinnitty, and in Whitegate where Eoghan grew up. But at the moment, such events simply aren’t possible."
Eoghan's family have also faced the additional strain of the political unrest in Colombia, which has been ongoing since April 28.
Dozens of Colombians have died in the protests that have swept across the country since the end of April in response to a highly contentious tax reform and it is now almost impossible for the de Cleir family to carry out straightforward tasks like visa renewals.