It was something of an emotional occasion as brain-injury victim Shane Grogan from Tuam was wheeled from his nursing home to watch 5,000 balloons released in his honour as his family plans to bring him home for good.
One balloon flew all the way from Tuam to a location near Brussels – almost 1,000 kilometres away.
It was a sombre and yet a fun event for Shane who has not recovered from a brain injury that he sustained after being attacked on his way home following a day out at the Galway Races.
Last weekend more than 500 turned out for a charity balloon launch in aid of the Care for Shane fund. It took place in the Palace Grounds where there were loads of activities for the local children.
But the event was made all the more special when Shane Grogan, who was struck in the head with a piece of concrete kerbing in an unprovoked attack, was brought to the event on wheelchair and released the first two balloons.
His father Joe Grogan said that he just hoped that his son realised what was happening but he paid tribute to all those who were involved in the fundraiser and particularly those who bought balloons.
“It was a great success. I could not believe the amount of people that turned out in support of Shane. It was all very emotional and I cannot thank people enough,” he told The Connacht Tribune.
Last year the balloon release raised around €17,000 but on this occasion it is expected to top the €20,000 mark such is the support that is behind it.
Shane Grogan, who is now 27, has been resident in a number of care facilities since the attack took place in Tuam after he celebrated a very rewarding and extremely enjoyable final day of the Galway Races in 2012.
Recently planning permission was granted to the Grogan family in Tuam for the construction of a new house in the town which will be specially adapted to accommodate Shane who will then move into the bosom of his caring family.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.