A Warwick University student who lives in Leamington has launched an online fundraising appeal to help a friend who suffered a devastating injury which has left him severely disabled.
Alex Jundi, 21, has set up the crowdfunding page on the JustGiving website for his best friend Gerard Murphy who has just turned 22 and attends Exeter University.
The page has been shared over 800 times on Facebook, and raised more than £17,000 from friends and family within two days of launching.
Gerard was on his summer break in Sweden earlier this year teaching students how to gain successful grades in their International Baccalaureate (IB) exams.
He had scored so highly in his own IB exams that he qualified to give tuition.
Early in July, Gerard was taking a break from tutoring and had gone to a lake with friends to swim.
He misjudged the depth of the water and dived in.
His head hit the rocky bottom of the lake, and he broke his neck and fractured his spine, and was left lying face down in the water.
Gerard’s friends quickly pulled him out and he was rushed to a Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm for emergency spinal surgery.
It was immediately clear that would not be able to walk again, and that his injuries would be life-changing.
Within two weeks, the Geography and Arabic student was airlifted to the UK to the Lister Hospital, Stevenage, and later Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, which specialises in spinal injuries.
He has now been transferred to the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire to continue his rehabilitation for C5 tetraplegia, which includes paralysis of his legs, wrists and hands.
Alex, who is in his third year on an International Business and Spanish degree at Warwick, said: “The accident has naturally had a seismic effect on Gerard’s life, as well as the lives of his friends and family.
“I set up the JustGiving page to help pay for all the things he will need in the future. This could be a wheelchair, adjustments to his accommodation, technology or anything else.
“We don’t fully know what Gerard is going to need until he has spent a month at Stoke Mandeville, but he will definitely need lots of support, regular care and specially adapted equipment.
“Despite the horror of the accident, Gerard remains his positive, upbeat self, and is determined to make as much progress as possible.
“He is the most amazing guy. He has the ability to capture a room with his jokes – he is extremely intelligent and so positive. When Gerard left the Lister hospital the nurses cried, which is testament to how well-liked and warm he is.
“Gerard has a lust for life. He loves sports, Liverpool FC, and ultimate Frisbee. He still has one year remaining of his degree – which he intends to finish when the time is right.
“Gerard is incredibly grateful to those who have donated to the JustGiving page. It’s given him the motivation to put in the hard work required during rehab.”
The fundraising amount donated by more than 700 supporters of the campaign currently stands at about £42,000 towards a £100,000 target.
To support the appeal click here.