Jack O’Driscoll remains optimistic as his community rallies around him

Jack O’Driscoll, the Irish man who was paralyzed in a freak accident during Storm Emma, is looking forward to moving back home.

Read More: Over €100K fundraised for family of Cork teen left paralyzed after Storm Emma fall

20-year-old O’Driscoll told the Irish Independent this week: "It is unbelievable the support I have received.”

"It is crazy the amount of people that get behind you - the support is unreal. I am absolutely in awe of it."

On March 1, 2018, O’Driscoll was on a local soccer pitch in his native Co Cork before the red alert was issued for Storm Emma. The then 19-year-old slipped in the snow on his way home, fracturing his C5 vertebrae in his neck and paralyzing him from the chest down.

Following the accident, O’Driscoll was treated at Dublin’s Mater Hospital and the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire before returning to Co Cork for more care around Christmas. In December, Jack spoke with 98FM about what the move closer to home meant to him and his recovery:

#Cork #News Jack O’Driscoll (20) was left paralyzed from the chest down when he fell in the snow near last March. He’s spent the last nine months in the Mater Hospital in Dublin and the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire but is now back in #Cork.@jack_fund pic.twitter.com/nAeWNXXQBD

— Cork's 96FM (@Corks96FM) December 21, 2018

While a GoFundMe was launched in the wake of his accident and has since raised more than €140,500 from over 3,500 donors, O’Driscoll’s local community has also gone above and beyond to help him

Just this week, the student union at Cork Institute of Technology, where O’Driscoll was studying environmental science at the time of his accident, presented O’Driscoll with a check for €15,289.46 following a series of fundraisers.

Aaron Buckley, CIT’s student union president, said: “We, at CIT SU have no doubt that the ongoing support of the CIT community will stand to Jack in the months and years ahead.”

Read More: Ireland warned to “stay indoors” as Storm Emma blizzards hit

Now, O’Driscoll is looking forward to moving back into his Mayfield, Co Cork home that has been modified thanks to the funds raised by his numerous supporters.

"The aim is over the next couple of weeks to get home," O'Driscoll told the Independent. "The house is done - the equipment for me to be able to get out of the (wheelchair) into bed, I'm just waiting on that.”

The Irish man also discussed the remarkable progress he's made: "I am starting to be able to hold my wrists up and get more control over my wrists. Every week there is some small goal, small achievements. I am getting something back every week.”

"I am getting stronger all the time," O'Driscoll said, adding that he's getting a little more independent every day.

"My aim is to come back to college - I want to be as independent as I can, get myself in and out of a pushchair, driving, getting myself dressed in the morning.”

Read More: Paralyzed Italian victim of Dublin attack returns to thank Ireland 20 years on

The inspirational Irish man said: "I can still go out and achieve whatever I ever wanted to achieve. Fair enough - I got the injury and I have been left in a wheelchair. But I can go on and do whatever I want to in life - I am just going to do it sitting down instead of standing up."

"I am shocked by how far I have come. I can see over the last three or four months in the gym the progress I have made. But my ultimate aim is to be able to push a manual wheelchair and be able to transfer myself in and out of my chair."

To support the Jack O'Driscoll Fund, head over to his GoFundMe. You can follow updates about Jack's progress on Facebook and Twitter.