FOR BRIAN Hogan and his family there are only three things left for them to do - wait, hope and pray.
The 35 year-old has now returned home to Limerick after three weeks in China, where he underwent stem cell infusions in the hope that one day he might be able to see and walk again.
However, it could be a long and anxious wait as the Ballykeeffe family have been told by doctors in Beijing that it could take six to eight months for the controversial treatment to work.
“We’ve had a good time in China and they’ve treated us well. The treatment is over so we just have to play the waiting game now to see what improvements I receive..it’s going to be an interesting wait,” said Brian, in an online video message, where he thanked people for their support.
Over the course of three weeks, Brian received stem cell infusions every second day, as well as lumbar punctures, and a number of therapies and exercises to improve his mobility.
He was based in a Beike Biotech treatment centre in Beijing, which uses stem cell products derived from umbilical cord, cord blood, and bone marrow stem cells. While the treatment continues to attract controversy and no funding was available from the Irish State as these are experimental trials, his family said anyone in their position would love to see him being able to reclaim the life he lost three years ago.
On July 19, 2009, Brian suffered severe brain damage and was left blind and partially paralysed after an unprovoked attack in Nottingham in the UK, where he was working as a senior quantity surveyor for a construction company.
His sister Nevis said while the treatment is “very exciting”, they are also “sick with nerves” in case they don’t see the results they’re hoping for. “Brian is so positive and always tries to keep the bright side out. He still enjoys life. He never has a woe is me attitude,” she added.
After he spoke out about his condition last September through the Limerick Leader newspaper, two wealthy female donors stepped forward and donated a total of €10,000 to help with the costs of his medical treatment, after being moved by his story. Nevis said they are grateful for “every penny” people have donated, as the treatment and other costs amounted to €40,000. In the past week, donations have continued to come in from people in Armagh, Derbyshire and Colorado.
Anyone who wishes to make a donation can do so at http://helpbrian.blogspot.co.uk.