Darren O'Connor.

Fundraising walk passing through Westmeath for man suffering rare post-Covid disease

A fundraising walk for a young man who requires round the clock care after contracting a rare post-Covid disease is passing through Westmeath in the coming days.

The friends and family of Darren O'Connor are walking from Galway to Dublin as part of their ongoing efforts to raise the funds needed to purchase the aids and appliances for his return home from Beaumont Hosptial, where he has spent the last year.

On their Go Fund Me page, the organisers of the walk explain how tough the past year has been for Darren and his family.

“One year ago, the otherwise healthy and fit 35-year-old Darren walked into A& E in Beaumont hospital, apparently suffering from Covid complications, despite being fully vaccinated and adhering to all the guidelines. Darren is suffering from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome which is a rare post Covid disease with a high mortality rate in adults.

"Within 48 hours he was in a coma, and he hasn’t left Beaumont hospital since. Despite receiving great medical care, Darren has a long road ahead and requires round the clock care. He can currently move his eyes and tilt his head slightly. Otherwise, he can do absolutely nothing for himself. For him, communication with his loved ones and the wider world, is almost impossible.

“Darren is receiving great care for this most rare of conditions. He is currently awaiting a bed in the National Rehabilitation Hospital where it is hoped he will make strides towards recovery. Darren’s wife Sam, who has provided amazing support to him through the last year will be training in order to be in a position to care for Darren at home. To get him there Darren's family need to purchase the necessary aids and appliances to enable them to give him the care he will need.

“In the unfortunate event that Darren will not be in a position to return home all funds raised will be donated to Beaumont Hospital and the National Rehabilitation Hospital.

“Darren is a loving husband, son, brother and a great friend. He is a proud Dublin man, a keen sports fan, and a canny poker player. This is the worst possible hand he could have been dealt. Help us to help him, by supporting this appeal, and together we can get ready for his eventual homecoming.”

One person who will be joining the walk when it gets to Westmeath is Darren's cousin Amanda Fox, who lives in Killucan.

Describing what has happened to Darren as both “heart-breaking and shocking”, Amanda says that his family are determined to get him home as soon as they can.

“I would really like to raise as much awareness for Darren as possible as every single cent raised will mean a step closer to getting home,” she said.

To donate, click here.