A bit in a panic tonight, trying to get ready for my ten minutes of fame at the launch of the Neurological Alliance Ireland (NAI) campaign, “We need our heads examined”, in the Mansion House in the morning.

Then out to the airport and off to Boston.

I am so not ready – but it’ll all work out.

Had two radio interviews over the past two days, so the An Saol campaign and our Great American Cycle is getting a bit of publicity. There’ll be a bit of coverage of the cycle on Sunday/Monday as well.

Pádraig got his Eye Gazer and Communicator soft- and hardware calibrated today for the two week trial – and what we all thought would be terribly complex (calibrating the technology with Pádraig’s eyes), he managed to do to perfection and in no time. Brilliant first step!

Here is the information circulated to the press about the cycle:

An Saol Foundation for Severe Acquired Brain Injury

Press Statement for Immediate Release

Cycle for Pádraig Schaler from Boston to Cape Cod

June 26-27, 2016

Trio undertake US cycle to raise funds for An Saol neuro-rehabilitation project

Salute to the bravery of Pádraig Schaler and all other severe acquired brain injury survivors

On Sunday, June 26, 2016, a week after An Saol’s successful launch of its neuro rehabilitation initiative (http://www.thejournal.ie/brain-injury-ireland-padraig-schaler-2827573-Jun2016/), Reinhard Schaler (57) and two of his son’s friends, Cian Waters and Neil McEnaney, undertake a two-day bike ride from Boston to Brewster on Cape Cod.

Their journey ends in Brewster on Monday, June 27 at 10h00, the exact moment Padraig Schaler, then aged 23, was hit by a truck and left with a catastrophic brain injury.

The three are raising money for An Saol’s €1.5m rehabilitation service for survivors of such injuries (see http://www.ansaol.ie).

Reinhard Schaler, Pádraig’s father, said: “This will be the most difficult cycle of my life as I recall my son’s dreadful accident and its awful consequences. But what will keep the pedals turning is my awareness of Padraig’s indomitable determination to survive and the knowledge that I and Cian and Neil are raising money for a facility that will respect and fulfil his needs and those of others in his situation.”

Cian Waters says: “Life can change in a second. Nobody knows that better than my friend, champion swimmer and Gaeilgeoir Pádraig Schaler (26) who suffered a catastrophic brain injury when a truck tried to overtake him with oncoming traffic on a narrow road in Brewster, Cape Cod, on June 27, 2013. Doctors told his family that life would be intolerable for him, even if he survived. He has survived and he deserves better treatment than what he is currently receiving from the Irish State. I’m cycling to change things for him and other sABI survivors.”

Neil McEnaney says: “Pádraig has defied all predictions. Keeping to his well-known single-mindedness and the focus of a true athlete, he fought the fight of his life. He survived not just the accident but also several secondary complications that could have killed him a number of times. Pádraig is not the only young man who is being denied the neuro-rehabilitation he requires. Many with injuries such as his are being maintained in nursing homes, receiving what can only be called ‘end of life treatment’.”

Reinhard Schaler adds: “Parents of one sABI survivor have been told that all their son required was nutrition, hydration, and medication. Ireland is one of only two EU countries that have not ratified the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This is not good enough and should be addressed immediately. We’re calling on Junior Disability Minister Finian McGrath and Health Minister Simon Harris to match our €1.5m funding so that our sons and daughters, parents and friends with sABI can finally have the dignity they are entitled to under the UN Convention.”

Donations to support the An Saol Project can be made on: www.gofundme.com/AnSaolProject

Interviews available on request


Media Inquiries

Reinhard Schaler: email Reinhard.Schaler@ansaol.ie; mobile: +353 (0) 87-6736414

Log on to www.ansaol.ie ; Follow us on Twitter: @an_saol #sABI; Like us on Facebook: An Saol

About Pádraig

Pádraig Schaler had just finished his studies at Trinity College Dublin and had planned to spend the summer on Cape Code, working on a J1 visa like thousands of other young Irish students when he had his accident. He can see, hear and understand but, for the moment, remains non-verbal, making use of a special switch to communicate. He also has not yet regained control of his body and requires 24-hour care.

About An Saol Foundation

We are families, friends and supporters of persons affected by a severe acquired brain injury (sABI). We have established the An Saol Foundation as a non-profit organisation, registered in Ireland. We will offer advice and support to families and friends affected by sABI. The An Saol Foundation pledges to afford every opportunity to people with severe Acquired Brain Injury (sABI) to live their life with dignity and respect, to continue to improve, to regain as much independence and self-determination as possible, and for their injuries to heal, supported by adequate therapies.

References for Journalists