Friday, June 20, 2014

Mechanical Man!

Here's a fascinating video of one of Brian's latest physio therapies. The (slightly frightening) machinery helps simulate walking to "train" the muscles, nerves, and parts of the brain. It "guides" Brian's own nervous system during his recovery, helping Brian's system to slowly strengthen the muscle skills affected by his brain injury.

Physio therapy of this type is very expensive, and is not fully covered by compensation plans. Therefore if you would like to see Brian making more and more progress, your continued donations are immensely appreciated, and they are put to excellent use!

Latest contributors:
Laura C. (Manchester, UK) - $10.00
Paris G. (Enniskillen, N. I., UK) - $10.00


Every little bit helps! From our family to yours, thank you!




Pride of Ireland, Indeed!

Pride of Ireland, Indeed!

Our man, Brian Hogan, was presented with a special award last week during the Pride of Ireland, recognizing his stalwart courage and inspiring example despite the hardship he and his family have faced since his injury. As he mentions in the video, he has been teaching others on the tragic, often unexpected consequences of violence. That one punch you throw in a moment of anger may have terrible repercussions years later! There's also a powerful message regarding head injuries. Any injury severe enough to cause unconsciousness should NEVER be ignored!

There's an intriguing reenactment of that awful day in 2009. How can Brian's diligence, forgiving attitude, and calmness of spirit inspire you?




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Brian's Interview on NewsTalk radio Ireland!

Here's a great way to get caught up on what's been happening with Brian, from his initial injury up to today and the progress he's made (and Brian's incredible spirit and amazing attitude).

Listen to the interview in the link, and don't forget to call or write him!

http://www.newstalk.ie/One-mans-journey-across-the-globe-for-stem-cell-treatment-

Sunday, September 8, 2013

RTE TV interview from 2010

Finally got Brian's TV interview from 2010 on RTE to work! This is from before his stem cell therapy. Gratz to the man and his family!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Short Documentary About Brian!

Here Brian tells his tragic but inspiring story! He makes us all proud every day!
Also, many thanks to ABI Ireland!


brian hogan from Eimear O'Grady on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Get Back to Work, Ya Slacker! ;-)

Brian will soon be rejoinng the workforce! It won't be easy for him, but he's motivated, capable and positive enough for such an important step! And a large part of it is thanks to YOUR love and support over these past few years! This is just the beginning of the reward for all your attention and resources you've sent Brian's way. From the bottom of our hearts, thanks! Here's the full text of RTE's comment's on Brian's "Job Shadow Day:"


In conjunction with the IASE (Irish Association of Supported Employment), RTÉ was delighted to be part of Job Shadow Day on Wednesday 24th April.
This national project brings people with disabilities together with local employers for one day, affording participants the opportunity to explore a chosen field of work by “shadowing” an employee with the overall objective of promoting equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Visiting RTÉ yesterday were Brian Hogan from Limerick and Aaron Richardson from Co.Wicklow, both of whom are keenly interested in a career in Media.
Brian, who wishes to specialise in Radio broadcasting, went in to The Mooney Show to spend the day with Derek and the production team. As a graduate of UL, Brian had been working in England as a quantity surveyor for nine years when, in 2009, as the result of an unprovoked attack, he was left partially paralysed and fully blind. The 35-year-old is now a client of Headway, an organisation which helps people rebuild their lives after brain injury.
Speaking about his experience as a jobseeker, Brian believes that the main challenge is in changing peoples’ perspectives “Sometimes, when employers see someone in a wheelchair or someone with a disability, they might think they’re not the full ‘compos mentis’, or that they’re a liability. If someone takes the time to sit and talk to you, often their preconceptions around disability evaporate.”
Brian’s sister wrote to us yesterday and commented as follows “Brian feels that now he is disabled and blind, people no longer view him as he once was, but he felt very normal yesterday and what a boost to his confidence!!”
Aaron’s focus is on film, drama, TV and performance and he was happy to dive in to the cut and thrust of Young Peoples’ programming, working with the ELev8 team. Aaron, who is 22, has a number of health challenges and Asperger Syndrome. Aaron was also in RTÉ on Tuesday, when he appeared on Morning Edition to talk about Job Shadow Day and you can watch his interview with Keelin Shanley here
RTÉ Communications would like to thank The Mooney Show and the Elev8 team for allowing us to be a part of Job Shadow Day and for ensuring that both Aaron and Brian had an experience of RTÉ that exceeded their expectations.


Below are some photos from Brian's interview on RTE! Thanks to everyone involved for publicizing this great opportunity for Brian!











Monday, April 22, 2013

Brian Makes Headlines... and Progress... AGAIN!

Original Article: http://www.mediacontact.ie/mediahq/iase/52649/limerick-man-on-journey-from-brain-injury-back-to-employment.html



A young man who acquired a serious brain injury when he was assaulted four years ago will take his first tentative steps back towards employment on Wednesday, national Job Shadow Day - with the help of RTÉ’s Derek Mooney (pictured).
Job Shadow Day, organised by the Irish Association for Supported Employment (IASE), sees hundreds of individuals with disabilities throughout Ireland take the opportunity to shadow a workplace mentor as he or she goes through a normal working day.
Hundreds of employers throughout Ireland are involved in this event to promote equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Brian Hogan, from Ballykeefe, Limerick, is spending his Job Shadow Day behind the scenes at RTÉ’s Mooney Show.
Brian, who is hoping to develop a media career, will spend the day with the show’s production team, getting a close up look at what’s involved in a career in radio broadcasting.
Brian, a University of Limerick graduate, had been working in England as a quantity surveyor for nine years.

However, on July 19, 2009, Brian's life changed forever. He was assaulted during an unprovoked attack which left him partially paralysed and blind.
The 35-year-old is now a client of Headway in Limerick, an organisation which helps people rebuild their lives after brain injury.
Brian is working with a Headway job coach in the hopes of getting back into employment.

Speaking about his experience of being a jobseeker with a disability Brian said one of the main challenges is changing perspectives.
"Sometimes, when employers see someone in a wheelchair or someone with a disability, they might think they’re not the full 'compos mentis', or that they’re a liability. If someone takes the time to sit and talk to you then they will see that their perceptions of disability will soon evaporate."
He said he was looking forward to the opportunity of seeing one of the country’s most popular broadcasters at work and experiencing the workplace once again.

"I am very excited. When you go to work, you get to mix with all types of people from all different backgrounds. As a people’s person it’s such a treat to be around people. When you’re around people you can only learn from them," he explained.

Brian also praised the Job Shadow initiative.
"When someone has a disability, and they are out of the normal run of things, they might lose their confidence. This confidence base is lost when you're out of employment. So if you can ease yourself back into work, it can really give you that confidence you’re lacking. Job shadow Day is an excellent way to ease back into the workforce," he said.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Many thanks again!

It's been very encouraging to see the amount of enthusiasm generated for Brian's recent good news. He and all of us couldn't be happier that all of you have stuck with us through this long challenge, and we look forward to sharing more news about Brian's progress.

Please keep on sharing this website on Twitter, "liking" it on Facebook, linking it on Tumblr, etcetera. The more publicity Brian gets, the better his spirits will be! And as you know, he still has a long way to go yet.

We also want to acknowledge Brian's latest donors! Many deep, heartfelt thanks to:
Mark R., New Orleans, La. - $13.00
Keating's Pharmacy, Limerick, Ireland - €150.00

Thank you for all your support, both financially and emotionally. Without you, Brian wouldn't have the hope he now has!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Headlines... With Terrific News

Our man Brian is in the headlines yet again! This time in the Irish Daily Mail! Check out the excellent article by Brian Carroll: "The Day Brian Got Up and Walked." It's Brian's story from the beginning, told in Brian's own words. You can read about the tragic incident that took his vision and mobility, the treatment he's had until now, including the stem cell treatment in China, and the pain and, most importantly, the hope he and his family now have at his recovery so far.
Again, deepest thanks to all who have made hope possible!

 




Friday, November 23, 2012

Brian - Making Headlines!

Well Brian has been making headlines yet again! Here's a link to Brian's story that appeared in the Irish Examiner this week. It gives an excellent, concise synopsis of the story so far.

Additionally, I Love Limerick featured Brian and his family in another story you can see by clicking here. As you can see, they also included the recent video of Brian walking on his own. But there's even more news about Brian walking! Up till now, Brian's worn a brace on his left leg to help the weaker muscles maintain the proper position of his foot. Without it he could have easily sprained or broken his ankle. But when speaking with Brian this morning, he said that yesterday he was able to walk without the brace! Now that is some tangible progress! He's very excited and is keeping his, and everyone else's, spirits high. It's extremely encouraging to see results!

One last news item, Sean was asked to be interviewed for RTÉ News at One in Ireland. If you click here, you can listen to Sean (all the way in America) being interviewed on the phone by Jonathan Clynch on RTÉ.

Again, thank you all so much for your donations! Speaking of which, Brian's latest donor is Sandra D., $20 (Dublin). Many thanks! Brian's family is considering the possibility of a second stem cell treatment in China. We'll have to wait a few months to see what kind of progress Brian continues to make, but it may be something to think about.

And of course, deepest gratitude to the Irish Examiner, I Love Limerick, and RTÉ for so much positive coverage and spreading the word about Our Man!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Brian Is On the Move!

Thanks to your generous donation and a lot of hard work on Brian's part, here are some results from his stem cell therapy! Previously confined to a wheelchair, Brian can walk! He only needs a little bit of guidance since he still can't see. If he recovers any vision, that will be a late result. Meantime, Brian and all of the rest of us are thrilled at the progress he's made. Thanks to you all!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Update on Brian - Reminiscing on China

Greetings!  Well done, Sean, for keeping up with the blog while in Ireland/China.  I thought I'd be more inclined to write, but I just wasn't.  There was plenty to write about, but I couldn't get my thoughts together enough to make sense - if that makes any sense.

Apart from the increased movement to his upper left side, Brian hasn't experienced any significant changes yet. He can now hug you with both arms.  Go ahead and ask him -  he would be delighted to show you.  He said "I haven't been able to do that for three years! Yahoo!”  Any change is an improvement.  The waiting game is painful for all of us, but especially for Brian. We were not expecting Brian to open his eyes and be able to see, or even jump out of his wheelchair and walk towards us, but I think Brian was expecting more changes, more quickly.  We may not see the cell regeneration on the outside.  Brian had such damage to his brain that the stem cells could be regenerating parts of his body on the inside only for right now.  We don't know when there will be significant changes, but most results happen between 6 to 8 months.  I think he went through a little rough patch right after China.  It's to be expected, really.  For 3 whole weeks, Brian had family 24/7.  His every whim and request was granted.  What we realized, thought, is that if there are 5 people in the room with Brian, he wants ALL the attention, and usually wants about 5 different things.  If it's two people with him - he's the same. When Jonathan & Nevis arrived, we tried to take a back seat, but we moved from Yanda International Health City in Beijing to Qingdao, 2 days after Jonathan & Nevis arrived.  The facility at Qingdao has more more advanced physical and occupational therapy, as well as acupuncture and massage therapy, so it was a great move. 

Getting Brian on and off a plane is no easy task.  Airline staff couldn't have been nicer, though.  When they would realize Brian couldn't see (which was usually because one of us would point to Brian's eyes, and motion that he couldn't see) they were extra vigilant with safety.  I have to admit - there's no way I would have been able to manage Brian by myself.  I'm so grateful that I have strong men in my life!  We were always first to board, because it took a little longer, but last to deplane as it also took a little longer.  I never paid attention to people pulling their belongings from the overhead compartments until traveling with Brian.  I was ready to pounce on anyone who swung a backpack or suitcase anywhere close to him.  I must have looked like a crazy person.  If the shoe fits and all that!

I decided there's nothing glamorous about flying anymore.  Even business/first isn't as fancy as it was in the past.  I've only ever flown business/first due to being bumped, but it's just not that special now.  Sure, you get showered with eye masks, ear plugs, and enough champagne to sink a ship, but I was okay in coach (even with 34 kids on the flight from Beijing to Frankfurt).  Shane and I actually had a good time.  Sean and Brian flew business because Brian needs to be partially sedated and then monitored.  Who wants to sit pretty much upright when you have sedatives in your system?  Brian had to be able to recline, and though expensive - he needed a companion. With a brain injury - you can't take any chances that a seizure will occur, and you're halfway to the moon so they're not about to land the plane.  Sean took excellent care of Brian.  We will always be grateful for his company/help/expertise, etc, etc.

Oh, the grocery stores - Lotte Mart, where you could purchase everything from live eel to fruit that is so ugly it should be thrown at hardcore prisoners.  I'm pretty sure the look on my face would have stopped a clock.  I just couldn't get past the "animal parts" - ALL the parts!  You can also purchase a wide variety of candy, but I couldn't find toothpaste. There's NO sparkling water in the grocery store.  NONE.  If you want something with bubbles - buy a beer.  I'm sure that's why I was so dehydrated and developed the bladder infection from hell.  Note to self - next time....bring a soda stream machine!

God bless Starbucks.  I never go to Starbucks, but we found one in Qingdao.  They sometimes had the chicken Cesar wrap, which isn't a guarantee it's chicken, but since they're corporate, I ate several.  They couldn't grasp the concept of "no sugar or syrup" in my passionfruit lemonade, so I just rolled with it.  Ice is a luxury there.  Now, maybe other parts of China are more "tourist" orientated, but we didn't really hit those spots.  Sean and I were looking for Tienanmen Square one afternoon, and a lovely Chinese lady told us we were walking in the right direction, but should grab the #1 bus instead of walking.  She even walked to the bus stop with us.  I'm pretty sure there were 300 passengers on that bus, but they yelled at you to squeeze in, until you were uncomfortably close to the person next to you, so more people could fit.  Chinese people do not shave their arm pits. 

Chinese people stare a lot.  They also spit a lot. That's right - spit.  It's disgusting.  I can barely handle kid snot, but adults spitting.  NASTY. 

I have a lovely, sweet friend who grew up in China.  His reaction to my stories was "oh, no - you experienced all the things I didn't tell you, because I was sure you wouldn't experience them".  Loan me your soda stream if I have to go again, and we'll stay friends!

Medically speaking, Brian got what we went there for.  It's amazing how fear of the unknown causes people to form opinions about medical treatments that they should really keep to themselves.  We heard everything from “What?, China?  Why would you go all the way to China"? to “Well that's just a waste of money.” Really? I'm amazed that people would tell someone in Brian's condition anything other than "go for it Brian - even if there's a slight chance that you could improve - do it".  Stem cells are the wave of the future.  Nothing hurt Brian, and nothing hurt his principles or beliefs. 

We met the most amazing families in China.  We now have "family" in Columbia, Chicago, Iraq, Spain, and Argentina!  We love them all dearly.  Each family made different sacrifices to be in China for stem cell therapy.  Each family had a different story, but one that was as heartbreaking as the next.  The thing about being in China for medical treatment - it didn't matter how much money you had, or didn't have.  You were there because your family member needed something that couldn't be found anywhere else.  Barriers that may have been evident in other arenas in life were broken if not shattered.  Family is what mattered.  It was one of the most fulfilling experiences of our lives.  We laughed and cried together.  That's what it's all about.  Oh, we also drank a little Irish whiskey together! 

In my last update I asked for friends and family to send Brian a letter/card/message of encouragement.  WOW!  We had over 120 letters/cards/emails.  That doesn't include all the people who sent lovely, encouraging Facebook and text messages, and called us on the phone right up to our departure in Dublin.  Thanks so much!  It's because of your  love and support that we can do this (you know who you are).  Never underestimate the power of words.  I heard a friend of my mam tell Brian "you are my hero".  I had to imagine Brian in a cape and tights, or I would have cried. 

The airport goodbyes are getting harder and harder.  I usually make it as quick as I can, but it's our tradition to say goodbye, then wave at one another from the bottom of the glass that separates traveling passengers to those "dropping off.”  Of course life can change in a split second, and every minute spent with people you love is precious.  I'm not sure my heart can take any goodbyes for a while. It also can't take the cards my mother writes and sneaks into the suitcase.  Why does she insist on telling me that she always wonders "will I see my child again?”  Mam loves to give dating/love advice too.  She always wants us to marry someone that will "put us on a pedestal"! How about we just marry someone two feet shorter?!

Between July 4 and August 17, I've been on 12 flights, stayed in 5 hotels (not fancy - believe me), 3 medical facilities, and 3 continents.  I'm tired of living out of a suitcase!  I just finished unpacking this evening.  How do I accumulate so much paperwork, though?  I kept receipts for everything from taxi rides to grocery store visits.

And I arrived back in New Orleans just in time for Hurricane Isaac!  I hadn't unpacked from 6 weeks in China/Ireland, when I was packing the bare essentials and heading 3 blocks away - to stay with friends.  The storm hit New Orleans as a "category 1,” which means "minimal" damage.  In my neighborhood, almost every single house lost all power by 7pm on Tuesday, August 28. I tried sleeping in my hot house (88 degrees and 95% humidity), but I tossed and turned like a fish out of water.  After 6 days of being a hot, sweaty mess, I GOT THE POWER (along with most everyone else)!  Hurricane season doesn't end until the last day of October, so we may experience this all over again!  I'm leaving town next time.

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog, supports us in any/every way.  We're grateful every day, believe me.

Much love and best wishes,

Grainne and all the Hogan Family xx

Brian Using BOTH arms!

Here's our man Brian hugging his sister Nevis for the first time in three years with BOTH arms! Thanks to everyone who made this possible!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Want to see some results of all your generous donations? Here's Brian's first two-handed hug in three years! Thanks to everyone who made this possible! Yes - YOU!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

After a long journey...

It's been about a week since we landed back in Ireland. Brian is back at ABI Ireland following through with his therapies and his programs at Headway. Shane started his  next semester of school for his nursing placement courses (psychiatric nursing! Lord love him). Sean is back in the United States. Grainne acquired a little infection and fell ill, requiring her to change her flights back the the U.S. to the following week, though after a trip to the doctor she's doing much better. Nevis & Jonathan are both back at work. It was a long journey, and all of us are happy to be back in the "normal" world!

Now we wait. It can take up to eight months before Brian can decide if the stem cell therapy is having an effect. He can't just sit around, though. He must be diligent in following through with his physical and occupational therapy to keep up his strength and work on improving his motor control. All the doctors he's been involved with have said that improvement in his vision will be the slowest to realize, so remember to encourage him in your continued calls, cards, letters, emails and Facebook messages. Every day in China we'd read to Brian the messages everyone sent and it proved to be a wonderfully upbuilding activity for both Brian and all his caretakers! When we'd get stressed or frustrated, your words of encouragement helped both Brian and all the rest of us! Please, please continue to write and call him! 

Brian had great follow-up article written about him in the Limerick Leader! You can read it by clicking this link. As we wait and hope and pray, we also give many thanks to all who have donated to Brian. Without your generosity, Brian would never have been able to enjoy the ray of hope that this treatment has given him. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

Bookmark this page and remember to check back! We'll keep on updating you with the results of your generosity!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back in Ireland!

After a full day of traveling from Beijing, the view over Ireland is most welcome!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Finally saw a tiny bit of China!

It's our last day in China. Back in Beijing. We checked into an airport hotel. Our flight back to Ireland is at 10:20 in the morning. Grainne took Sean into Beijing while Shane looked after Brian. We saw Tianamen Square, the Forbidden City, and here's Sean at the crazy street market just off "Times Square." More insane food, pushy trinket hawkers, and a vast, tightly packed sea of humanity.
It's been a great adventure and it'll be fun to come back to. We'd do it differently next time, but this has been a fascinating experience. And now we wait, hope & pray for Brian's new sten cells to work their magic!
Stay tuned!

You can never have enough scorpions on a stick.

You know with Chinese food you'll just be hungry again in an hour.

Grainne at Tianamen Square!

Last day in China!

Finally got to see something cool! Sean & Grainne at the Forbidden City, the palace of Chinese emperors till the early 20th century.