A CANADIAN scubadiver who is paralysed from the waist down after getting into difficulty diving near the shipwreck of the Lusitania, off the coast of Kinsale, has returned home thanks to the generosity of Irish people.
Kim Martin (56) – who is an experienced scuba diver and was awarded the Canadian Medal of Bravery in 1996 for the rescue of a fellow diver – was airlifted to the hyperbaric chamber of Galway University Hospital on August 8th and had remained there until last week.
He had been due to marry his fiancée Kirstin Chadwick in their home town of Muskoka near Toronto on August 24th but unfortunately since the accident, she was at his bedside in Galway.
Kim suffered a spinal stroke, which means he is paralysed from the waist down after suffering the ‘bends’ while diving.
A GoFundMe page – with a target of ,000 (Canadian dollars) was set up by Kim’s family and friends on August 15th to help with bringing him home to Canada and with the escalating costs associated with his recovery.
Last Friday, Kirsten posted on her Facebook page that they were ‘finally home’ and she thanked everyone who made it possible.
‘Thank you for standing by us and giving us all your love and support. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such great, generous, kind people and it makes the long road ahead even more promising,’ she posted.
Kirsten added that there had been many ‘ups and downs the past eight weeks’ but had high praise for the staff at GUH.
‘For all the staff at GUH you are why he is here. You saved my best friend, my fiancée and my hero, and so, you saved me! We love you all!!!’
As of this week ,529 had been raised for Kim and it is expected that the figure will go beyond the target. The Lusitania Museum/Old Head Signal Tower in Kinsale donated €350 to the fund and wished Kim all the best with his recovery.
Kirstin thanked everyone who has donated or commented on their GoFundMe page over the past two months and said that people had even visited her at the hospital in Galway.
‘The generosity the Irish people and people all over have shown us is exceptional. It is why I believe. I believe in Kim and I believe in humanity. Thank you for making my day and all my wishes come true,’ she said.
See ‘Kim Martin’s Road to Recovery – Save A Hero’s Life’ on GoFundMe.com