A fundraising campaign set up just days ago to help with treatment costs for a Cork toddler badly injured in a hit-and-run last week has already generated more than €12,000 in donations.
Zac Higgins has been in an induced coma in Temple Street Children’s Hospital since being knocked down while playing in Castle Meadows housing estate in Mahon last Monday.
He has suffered broken bones and a bleed to the brain.
His family say doctors are beginning the process of taking him out of the medically induced coma this week.
A teenager who was arrested in connection with the incident was released without charge. A file is being prepared for the DPP.
Zac’s parents, Paul and Aishling, remained by his bedside in Dublin last week, with siblings Max and Belle staying with family.
Paul is the treasurer of the local football team, Ringmahon Rangers, and the fundraiser launch took place in the team’s clubhouse.
Speaking at the launch, family friend and local councillor Chris O’Leary said Zac is facing a long recovery.
“Zac’s recovery and rehabilitation will be a fairly lengthy one,” said Mr O’Leary.
“On that basis, we have established the fund. We had a huge amount of requests from people about what they could do and how they could do it.”
The money will be used to offset transport and accommodation costs.
Paul and Aishling will rotate their time in Dublin with Zac in order to restore normality for their other children.
“We have set an initial target of €50,000 but we would be hopeful of exceeding that,” said Mr O’Leary.
Fundraisers, including no-uniform days and coffee mornings, will be organised in the coming weeks, while other local sports clubs have offered support too.
“The family are very much part of the community,” said Mr O’Leary.
“The rehabilitation may take longer than we expect.
When Zac is out of the coma and we can do the full assessment, that will determine the long-term situation and recovery. It is a changing environment; it is the unknown.
"With that, the funds will be administered to go on much-needed expenses and rehabilitation for Zac.”
Zac’s uncle, Alan Higgins, has thanked the public for their support so far.
“This has all been tough on the family but we have to be there for Paul and Aishling,” said Alan.
A GoFundMe page was set up over the weekend. More than 350 people have already contributed over €12,000.
The fundraising committee hopes to get more than €50,000 to help Zac’s recovery.
Contributions can be made via gofundme.com/f/zac-higgins-appeal-fund or via a money transfer via any bank using the following account details