Over €32,000 was raised for Pádraig Schaler, a Trinity college graduate who is receiving rehabilitative neurological care after being hit by a truck during his J1 last June.
Over 50 of his friends took part in Swim for Pádraig, a swimming fundraiser, where they swam in the shores of 17 counties over the course of 38 hours. They started out in Balbriggan on saturday 12th April, traveled north and into Connaught and Munster before concluding in Bray on the Sunday.
Pádraig Schaler’s sister was shocked by how much has been raised for her brother through the event.
“We never expected over €30,000, it’s amazing. Myself and my family are really happy with how well it has gone, we really never expected to get this amount and this much support,” Maria said.
Pádraig Schaler is currently in a coma in Germany after being knocked off his bicycle when cycling to work in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He had just completed his undergraduate studies in Trinity, where he was studying Irish and History.
After 2 weeks in intensive care in the US, his parents brought him home to Ireland. Eventually Pádraig’s parents took the decision to move him to Germany, where he is now receiving the treatment he needs.
“Apart from being freezing in the water, we all got on very well. There was a great sense of spirit on the bus travelling around the coast. We even got some sunny beaches,” Maria said.
Jen Ní Mhathúna, a friend of Pádraig’s took part in the swim and believed it was a fitting tribute to Pádraig.
“Pádraig is a very talented swimmer, he even represented Ireland underage. We felt that this would be a great way to raise the funds”.
Pádraig has been in the coma since June, but he is starting to make progress; “He is moving his hands and fingers now. He is even opening his eyes and registering sound, these are good signs,” Jen said.
Event organiser Aodhán Ó Deá came up with the idea with a few other of Pádraig’s friends. The event was organised in both Irish and English, to honour Pádraig’s passion for the language.
“Pádraig is a keen gaeilgeoir so we wanted to incorporate that. I am delighted with the outcome but we need to look forward- we have a marathon next,” said Aodhán.