Expats rally to get paralysed Corkwoman home

IRISH communities in Melbourne and Sydney have rallied to help get a Corkwoman with the devastating “locked-in syndrome” home to her family.

Siobhán Collins, 36, who is originally from Newmarket, had just returned home from work at the Celtic Club in Melbourne on November 23 when she suffered a brain aneurysm.

Her partner, Dan Cronin, 37, who is from Dunmanway, found her unconscious and rushed her to St Vincent’s Hospital where she suffered a devastating second aneurysm.

It has left with her locked-in syndrome where a patient is often alert but completely paralysed. But tragically in Siobhán’s case, she has no alertness.

Dan hopes that bringing her home to familiar surrounds may help her on the road to recovery.

“There is no communication there at all and she has zero alertness,” said Dan. “Things are pretty bleak at the minute. It’s at the stage now that she needs people around her that she knows.

“It’s hoped the environmental stimulation of having her family around her might help.

“I hadn’t thought of taking her home, to be honest. I really thought we could ride it out here.

“We were really trying not to push it, but it’s come to the stage now where she needs to have more people around her.

“It’s not going to happen overnight, it could take a couple of years, but it’s obvious now that this is the only thing we can do.

The couple first met at the Cock ‘n’ Bull in Sydney in 1995 where Siobhán was working as a barmaid.

They returned to Ireland soon afterwards but returned to Australia in 2007.

They are very well known within the Irish community, particularly in Sydney, where they both lived for several years.

And now their friends have come together to host joint fundraisers in Sydney and Melbourne.

Both functions will take place on May 16, with the Celtic Club hosting the Melbourne event and the Pine Inn holding the Sydney one.

It could cost up to e50,000 to fly Siobhán home to Ireland.

It is also likely that a specialist may have to travel with her, adding to the costs.

Quantas had to adapt part of the first-class section of one of its 747 aircraft to get Cork assault victim David Keohane home from Australia last year.

He was then airlifted by Lifeline Ambulances from London to Cork.


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