A fundraising event will take place in the Town Hall Theatre on Monday December 7 in aid of Tuam man Shane Grogan who was seriously injured in an unprovoked assault in the town three years ago.
Mr Grogan suffered a brain injury after he was hit with a brick by Dublin man Shane Byrne while he was walking home in his hometown, following a day at the Galway Races on August 5, 2012. Mr Byrne was subsequently jailed for two and a half years.
Shane Grogan’s profound brain injuries mean he now requires 24 hour care. Following the attack, he was rushed to University Hospital Galway and transferred to Beaumont where he underwent a number of operations. He then spent three months in the National Rehabilitation Care Centre in Dun Laoghaire before being returned to hospital in Galway. Shane now resides at the Aras Mhuire Nursing Unit in Tuam, but spent the summer months at the Leamington Spa Rehabilitation facility in the UK - a specialist unit for brain injuries - in an attempt to improve his condition.
His father Joe says there has been a little improvement but admits it is painfully slow. “Physically Shane has improved over the summer following the trip to the UK, he did a lot of work with orthopaedic surgeons and physios to loosen up his muscles and prevent him seizing up. Mentally he is still in what is called a state of minimum consciousness, he is awake but cannot communicate with us. We think he understands what we’re saying but he has no way of communicating back. Our hope is that some day he will be able for some form of communication, even to say yes or no, to let us know if he is in pain or he wants something.’’
The family are continuously on the look out for advances in treatment to help Shane’s condition, and improve his quality of life. They do not address bitterness about the predicament they have found themselves in through no fault of their own. It is asserted that their attitude is remarkable, a comment that is firmly batted away. “We are not amazing. We have no choice but to get on with things, anyone in our position would do the same. We cannot lie down. Shane is the most important part of all this. We get up every day with the wish to improve his condition. My wife is unbelievable - she has spent every single day with him since this happened. Our daughter Sarah has recently had a baby, and that too has given us great joy, and we would like to think that Shane is aware of that great news aswell.”
Care for Shane
A charitable trust has been set up by friends and family to help fundraise for the cost of caring for Shane. Fundraising is ongoing and in August, a very successful balloon race took place in Tuam, where 5,000 balloons were released in honour of Shane. Joe Grogan says the hope is to eventually build a unit at the family home on Shop St, so his son can spend more time there. “It is not really possible to bring Shane out of the nursing home very often as so much equipment and staff are needed to care for him, but if we have this unit in place, we may be able to take him out for up to five hours per day, and possibly the odd overnight. It would be great for him - and us to have him home more often.”
Mr Grogan pays tribute to the people of Tuam following their immense support in the aftermath of the life-changing attack. “Family and friends have been brilliant. We are very lucky to have so many people around us who want to do all they can to help, and we are grateful to everyone for helping out in any small way. It does not necessarily even need to be donating money - over the summer people in the UK opened up their hearts and homes to us when they heard about what had happened Shane. People by their nature are so good hearted. Even the Irish community in Birmingham recently held a big fundraiser in the Irish Centre there.”
The fundraiser in the Town Hall on December 7 is sure to be a great night. All the acts involved are giving their time free of charge, and all proceeds from ticket sales will go to the charitable trust. The line-up features Leo Moran, Matt Keane, Ann Kirrane, Pat Smyth, Champagne Shuffle, Heidi McCaffrey, and Johnny O’Halloran.
Leo Moran of The Sawdoctors fame needs no introduction, Matt Keane hails from the famed Caherlistrane born Keane family, and is a brother of Dolores and Sean, while Ann Kirrane is a local folk singer and musician who is the daughter of renowned Clare musician Chris Droney. Pat Smyth is the lead singer with the Johnny Flynn Showband, while Champagne Shuffle are a well known local function band which includes names such as Jimmy Higgins and Joe Bernie.
The final big name, Heidi Mc Caffrey, is a well-known London born singer and actress who is well known for playing parts in The Bill, Eastenders, and Casualty.
++Tickets for the concert are on sale at the Town Hall, contact 091 569 777, and at Grogan Travel, Shop St, Tuam, 093 24116.
++Find out more about the Care for Shane fundraising initiatives on Facebook. Donations can be made to account number 496900 at St Jarlath’s Credit Union Tuam.