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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 20 June, 2019
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'He has amazed doctors': Irishman's bid to walk again after motorcycle accident

Jonathan Higgins suffered life-threatening injuries that led to the amputation of his left leg.

Jonathan Higgins
Jonathan Higgins
Image: Facebook

A COMMUNITY IN Sligo is raising funds to help a local man walk again after a serious motorcycle accident in Dubai.

Shortly before Christmas, pilot Jonathan Higgins suffered life-threatening injuries that led to the amputation of his left leg.

After multiple surgeries he was finally woken from an induced coma on 1 January. He received medical treatment in Dubai for several months before returning to Ireland in June.

His family and partner Laura have set up a GoFundMe page in the hopes of raising €150,000 to pay for a prosthetic leg and other medical bills.

Recalling hearing about the accident, Jonathan’s mother Daphne said the family were getting ready for Christmas when they received a phone call on 15 December from their eldest son, who also works as a pilot with Emirates.

“He rang and said, ‘I’m afraid we have some bad news for you.’ He told us how Jonathan had been in a bad motorbike accident, that he was critical and that we better get ourselves together and get out to Dubai as fast as we could.”

Daphne, her husband, daughter and son all travelled to Dubai.

“It was absolutely traumatic. We went over on that journey not knowing if he was going to be alive when we got there.

“We were fighting for his life every day, praying for his life every day. The people back here were so supportive. They held services, they sent messages … That helped us to get through it,” Daphne recalled.

Jonathan had to undergo life-saving surgery but luckily survived.

Fundraiser 

Daphne said her son has “amazed” doctors with his strength and determination, but has a long road of rehabilitation ahead of him. She said the family have been quoted upwards of €100,000 for the type of prosthetic leg he needs.

“The prosthetic leg itself, the basic one is about €50,000. But as he needs it they’ll start putting in a microprocessor knee,” Daphne explained, adding that this will allow Jonathan to flex and bend his knee, meaning he’ll be able to walk and climb stairs.

All these things are priced individually. We’ve been quoted the guts of €110,000 to €120,000 just for the leg. That’s the prospective cost, it could end up being higher.

“That’s not talking about medical bills, surgical bills, doctors’ appointments, hospitalisations or anything urgent he needs.”

Jonathan is currently living in Dublin, and receives physiotherapy every second day. The goal is for him to be moved to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire once pain in his lower spine has reduced.

‘So supportive’

Daphne said she and her family have been blown away by the support shown by members of the local community in Sligo, with neighbours and friends holding various fundraisers in recent months.

At the time of publication, almost €120,000 of the €150,000 goal had been raised.

Posted by on Thursday, 20 June 2019

“People have been so supportive. Our friends, neighbours and local people have been so good in all the fundraisers that have been set up already.

“There have already been four or five different fundraisers. People are wonderful, without their support we couldn’t do it,” Daphne said.

Some of Jonathan’s friends have arranged a motorcycle run from Easkey in Co Sligo to Cork and back, which will take place this Saturday.

One of the organisers, Alan Connor, said about 20 bikers will make the full journey with others joining for part of the route. He added that there has been great support for the event from people in Ireland and the UK.

“There is a lot of organising gone into it from a lot of good people around here. We’re doing the run for Jonathan as he is one of my best friends and we’re trying to get him all the money he needs to get him fully recovered,” Alan told us.

Anyone interested in donating or taking part in the motorcycle run can read more information here or here.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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