A CORKMAN who suffered a life-changing complete spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis in October has set his sights on completing the 2020 Dublin Marathon in his wheelchair.
John Kennedy was left paralysed from the waist down after a freak accident at his home in Carrigadrohid near Macroom on October 6.
After falling from a ladder while reaching for tools in his shed, John was airlifted to Cork University Hospital (CUH) where he was told he had broken two vertebrae in his back and had a badly broken arm. A complete spinal cord injury sustained in the accident has left him with no feeling from the waist down.
The marathon runner and keen cyclist is currently recovering at CUH before he travels to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire for an extensive rehabilitation programme to adapt to life as a paraplegic.
The Cobh-native, husband to Ina and three-year-old daughter Jessica, will need special adaptions to his home when he returns to ensure he can live as comfortable a life as possible.
His sister Ciara Kennedy told the Evening Echo that John is now determined to be positive.
“John has done marathons and triathlons and had also done the Ring of Kerry this year. He went out with Coachford Cycling Club twice a week and he did skydiving. He’s a big adventure guy.
“He is very goal focused. His goal now is to do the 2020 Dublin Marathon in his wheelchair. He wants to get himself strong enough and fit enough to get to that point. Obviously, it’s going to take a lot of work and there have been a few setbacks along the way, such as having to have a second surgery on his arm last week because the tendon snapped.
“This means that he won’t be going to Dún Laoghaire now for another couple of weeks. There are some challenges but he’s staying positive and focused for his little daughter and wife. He has a good outlook and his attitude is; ‘this is after happening, I can’t change it, I have to get on with it’.”
Ciara has launched a GoFundMe to raise funds for the vital adaptions and equipment that John will require.
A flurry of donations has already tripled the initial goal of €10,000 - with more than €35,000 being donated in eight days since it was set up.
“There are massive costs involved for John to be able to live his life to the fullest. All donations received will go towards getting John the essential equipment and adaptations he requires,” said Ciara.
“Everyone in both Cobh, Carrigadrohid and colleagues and friends further afield were shocked to hear about John’s accident.
“None of us can change what happened and it’s very hard to help John because none of us knows how to. So, giving a few euro is the way to help. John is very well liked and the amount we’ve raised so far is a testament to his character,” she added.
You can donate to John’s Facebook page here: www.gofundme.com/john-kennedy-adapting-to-life-with-paralysis.