'Dreamboat' will help fund treatment for the 24 year-old, who has been in a coma for 17 months
Friends of Pádraig Schaler, a young Irish man who has been in a coma for 17 months following a traffic accident, have gathered to record an album to raise funds for his treatment.
Pádraig, 24, has been in a coma since a 2013 accident in Cape Cod, when he was hit by a truck while cycling to work. A Trinity College student of Irish and History, he had been planning to spend the summer in Massachusetts before he graduated in November.
He received intensive care locally and was brought home to Beaumont Hospital, where he stayed for four months.
Because Pádraig was not wearing a bicycle helmet, his J1 insurers refused to pay his medical expenses. Though wearing a helmet is not required by state law, and the insurance policy only required helmets for extreme spots, Pádraig’s family have been left to pay the bills.
Unhappy at the nine month waiting list, and an offer of only three months at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, they transferred him to the Schön Klinik Hamburg, where he receives high-quality neurological treatment and 24-hour care due to his father Reinhard's German citizenship. Pádraig and his family will soon move into a home specially designed for their needs.
Reinhard has been recording his experiences on his blog Hospi-tales, where he notes the considerable improvements made in Padraig's condition since the accident.
In a recent post, he writes that Pádraig is now able to eat soft foods, breathe by himself, and occasionally even speak a few short words.
These are “all very basic things,” he says. “But he is with us. And he is improving in very small steps all the time.”
To raise funds for his treatment, Maitiú O Casaide of folk band The Bonnymen composed the bi-lingual song 'Dreamboat.'
The track was rehearsed by 50 friends in Conradh na Gaeilge on Harcourt Street and recorded in number of Dublin studios. Soon after, all were agreed that a full 10-track album should follow.
"It's an idea that started with a song, inspired by Pádraig's father Reinhard's blog, that just snowballed," said Maitiú. "It was a simple idea that just grew and grew."
"It was nice to do it again and create something musical for him - something that Pádraig can listen to knowing it was made specially for him."
"The launch tonight is only the beginning, we hope to keep up the fundraising as long as Pádraig needs it."
'Dreamboat' is the latest in a number of fundraising events organised by Pádraig's friends and family. Snámh Phádraig, a sponsored swim in every coastal county in Ireland, took place in April, raising €38,000.
Andrew King, a friend of Pádraig’s, spoke about fundraising efforts so far:
“There has been incredible support shown to Pádraig and his family by a very wide circle of his friends.
“There have been table quizzes, nights out and concerts - one organised by his beloved Cumann Gaelach in Trinity, another by his former school, Coláiste Eoin.
“This CD comes on the back of all of those efforts and is a real testament to Pádraig's character.
"I have never known as enthusiastic a man, as committed a man, and as loyal a man as Pádraig. We all know that this is exactly what Pádraig would do for any of us."
The album launch is tonight in the Grand Social on Liffey Street, Dublin at 8pm. The album can be purchased or downloaded at amhrandophadraig.com. All proceeds will go to the Caring for Pádraig fund.