By Sarah Slater
An Irish man who was seriously injured following an incident in Australia last New Year’s Eve has returned home to Ireland.
Michael Hyndman, 23, from Belfast was placed in an induced coma by doctors following an altercation in Sydney during celebrations to mark the start of this year.
The young man underwent emergency surgery the following morning on New Year’s Day. He had moved to Sydney last September with his fianceé Clar to begin a new job as a quantity surveyor within days of moving to the city.
Thanking his family, friends and the public for their, help, financial generosity and good wishes Michael said: “Looking back, there is no doubt in my mind that my recovery has been phenomenal.
“And if I’m totally honest, I don’t think this would have been the case if it wasn’t for my friends, my family, colleagues and the many selfless people who don’t even really know me, yet donated to my cause.
“I go through the list of names nearly every day. I feel nothing but the upmost respect and heartfelt gratitude toward you. Your generosity made it possible for me to have my family at my bedside when I needed it most.
“You supported us financially while I was initially fighting just to stay alive, throughout my life changing surgeries and even through many weeks of tough rehabilitation.”
Michael made his remarks on the official crowdfunding page, gofundme.com to let people know that he was now home and how his health is progressing.
“I am pleased to tell (everyone that last month) I received the news that I was clear to fly home to continue my recovery in Ireland with my family and friends who I left behind.
“You not only provided financial help to make it all possible but you have offered your positive thoughts, words of encouragement and prayers, to help us get through this dark time that we will never need reminding of.”
He once again urged people to understand the devastating effects getting involved in any confrontations can have.
“ In addition to expressing my sincere gratitude I also want to take this opportunity to raise awareness. To make sure that people fully understand the consequences of throwing just one punch.
“It was just one punch that started this nightmare (for me) and almost cost me my life.
“Thankfully I am here to tell the tale and I hope that by sharing my story people will realise the dangers involved. I hope that I can prevent, even one person, from throwing that, life altering/ in some cases fatal, punch in the future. Life is too precious.”
Michael said that he was closing the fundraising page, set-up by his brother Barry in the hours after his brother was rushed to hospital, now that he has returned.
Donations to the fundraising site raised €21,502 or £18,932.
“Now that we’re safely back on Irish soil I am writing what will be the final update on ‘Michael's story’, as I feel it is appropriate to close the page at this time.
“Saying that, as I move forward in life and face the next days, weeks, months and even years ahead, I can assure you, that I will never forget each and every one of you.
“You, and so many more not listed on the page, took the time to read and share my story and offer immeasurable support in many forms.
“My family and I would like to thank each and every one of you, from the bottom of our hearts. You have shown the true depth of human kindness and selflessness and for that we will be forever grateful.
“There is no education like adversity. But remember tough times do not last forever but tough people do.”