Dad left for dead in New Jersey after hit-and-run
A DUBLIN father-of-one has spoken of how he feels lucky to be alive after he was the victim of a hit-and-run accident in the US that left him with serious injuries.
Brian Gilligan (29), who is originally from Kinsealy but now lives in New Jersey, was left lying unconscious on the street, after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver.
He suffered torn ligaments, a broken knee cap and a damaged shoulder and will have to learn how to walk again once he recovers from surgery.
He's also facing further surgery for a shoulder injury endured in the incident.
Brian, who now lives in Bergenfield, New Jersey with his wife Michelle and their son Liam (2), was rushed to Hackensack University Centre, where he was kept for 17 days.
He was supposed to attend rehabilitation after that but because he has no health insurance, he couldn't afford to and instead is trying to recover at home.
Still, he feels lucky to be alive.
"It could be a lot worse," Brian told the Herald. "That's the way I look at it and I'm lucky to be alive."
Now his friends back in Dublin are rallying to help and a series of fund-raising events are being organised to help him with his medical expenses.
The young Dubliner had just recently started his own business, a commercial moving company called Ireland Movers.
He was working on a job when he was struck by the car, which has left the future of his new company in danger.
Brian was standing in the road on Woodbine Street, Bergenfield, a city in the state of New Jersey, at around 8pm on January 14, helping an employee move a truck out from a nearby business when he was hit.
"I waved a flashlight and he didn't stop," he said of what he could remember.
"I jumped to get out of the way and he hit me. I supposedly flipped around in the air and hit the ground, and I was unconscious for a while."
The driver, a 53-year-old man, later turned himself in to police. Brian has been advised by his attorney that he will probably only receive "a slap on the wrist".
It will take some time before he's fit enough for his physically demanding job.
"It's a lot of stress, worrying about the business as well," he added.
"I can't put any weight on my knee until April and then I'll have to learn to walk again.
"I'll also need another operation on my shoulder. They couldn't operate on that at the time because to have done the two surgeries together would have been too disabling," he said.
He says Wednesday night was the first night he slept in his own bed, though not a comfortable experience.
"The house isn't exactly suitable for someone who is disabled and I've been more or less bound to the couch since I came home," he said.
His mum, Roisin, also travelled over from Dublin.
Now his friends in Dublin are busily organising events to help Brian.
The first of these is a fundraising event in the Ploughman's Bar and Grill in Kinsealy tonight at 8pm.
"Myself and my family just can't thank everyone enough for their kindness," said Brian.