Over the weekend, I got an email from my friend Sean. He’d posted an engrossing story about his own (accidental) search for his birth parents not long ago, so given everything that’s gone on in my life the past nine years, I kind of assumed it was about that.
Sean proceeded to tell me about his former brother-in-law, Brian — a 32-year-old gay man from Limerick, Ireland. He’s cute and talented and smart, and on July 19, 2009, he was beaten in an unprovoked attack in Nottingham, England. When he fell, he hit his head on the sidewalk and passed out. A couple of minutes later, he awoke, shook it off, and went home, but the next day, he was unconscious again. His coma lasted for three months.
Brian has gradually regained his speech capabilities, but he’s confined to a wheelchair, he’s lost use of the left side of his body, and he’s now blind. He’s made a great deal of progress, and there’s hope that he’ll make even more, but Brian’s best chance now seems to lie with experimental stem cell therapies — therapies that are available at only a few facilities in the world. The nearest one is in India. It will not be cheap.
Sean has set up a fundraising website to help raise money for Brian’s treatment. It’s a generous act — particularly for someone who’s not even married to the family anymore. But Sean’s an EMT, so I guess it comes naturally.
If you’re the giving sort, please consider making a contribution — and of course, feel free to share the site with like-minded others.
I know there are thousands of stories just like this being told in homes around the globe. In fact, just yesterday I visited a friend here in New Orleans who, like Brian, was the victim of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Our bodies are frail, sacks of meat and bones guarded by scraps of wit and instinct. It’s remarkable that everything we do isn’t fatal.
But just because Brian’s story isn’t unique doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be told and re-told.