US stem cell hope for blind assault victim

A LIMERICK man left blind and partially paralysed after being brutally attacked in Britain two years ago plans to travel to the US shortly for a new stem cell treatment which, he hopes, will reclaim the life he lost in the assault.

Brian Hogan, 34, from Ballykeeffe said: “I hope the treatment will help me get back the two years of my life that have been robbed from me.

“I’m sure if anybody was in my situation they’d try anything to get their life back on track. It’s exciting, but I have to play a waiting game.

“My name is on top of the list, so I could get the go-ahead tomorrow or next week. I’m hoping to obtain some eyesight back again, which is my main drawback, and the cells will be injected into my body, so it could help my mobility as well. I’m willing to give it a shot.”

Dr Gabriel Lasala, one of the world’s leading stem cell professionals will manage the treatment at a clinic near New Orleans and it could take up to seven weeks.

Brian was rendered unconscious after being subjected to an unprovoked attack when he was working as a quantity surveyor in Nottingham in July 2009.

After being struck by a 33-year-old man — who has since been dealt with by the courts — Brian fell back and hit his head off a concrete pavement.

He remained in a coma at University Hospital, Nottingham for three months and his family were told he had only a 10% chance of pulling through.

Brian now attends Headway, the organisation which provides brain injury rehabilitation.

Headway hopes to open a new centre in Limerick and has receive €500,000 from the JP McManus Charitable Foundation.

Brian said: “Headway is a godsend. I meet other people who have brain injuries, it is an outlet for me where I get to learn more about the consequences of my injury.”

Headway is holding a fund raising ball at the Dunraven Arms in Adare on October 7.

Whether Brian is able to attend the function himself will all depend on that all-important and much-awaited call for treatment in the US.


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