National cyclist Andre Simon remains in serious condition as fundraising steps up a gear

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Andre Simon (Facebook photo)
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By Orville Williams

[email protected]

Having staged a successful fundraiser last weekend, the family of seriously injured national cyclist Andre Simon continues to appeal for financial support to send him overseas for further treatment.

Simon was one of four cyclists hit by a motorist during an early morning ride on May 8, but he was the only one in the group to suffer critical injuries and remained in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre until late last month.

The 36-year-old suffered head trauma and internal bleeding and was dependent on a ventilator for some time.

His brother, Dwayne Simon, told state media yesterday that Andre remains in hospital in a “vegetative state” (a condition describing a person who is awake, but showing no signs of awareness).

Dwayne said “he is trying and … seems to respond very well to his son, which is very interesting, because it shows that there is a part of him that can hear.”

He added, “That is really encouraging and that is what we’re trying to hold on to.”

Despite the treatment received at the hospital, Simon still requires more urgent medical attention – the kind that can only be accessed abroad – and the cost of said treatment is said to be staggering.

A GoFundMe account, titled “Help Andre On The Road To Recovery”, has been launched with a goal of US$500,000 – of which just over 10 percent, or US$50,000, has been contributed so far by nearly 500 donors.

To complement that online effort, a fundraising concert was held last Saturday, with performances by entertainers including Menace, Tian Winter, Lyrics Man, and Queen Althea.

Simon’s sister, Beatrice, disclosed via social media that EC$11,050 was raised by the concert.

Dwayne revealed, too, that while the fundraising is slowly improving, the family is hopeful that – whether by means of a loan or intervention from the government – the funds needed initially can be acquired so that Andre can be flown out of the country to receive the required treatment as soon as possible, rather than to wait until all the funds are secured.

The government had previously indicated its willingness to assist Simon’s family, but there has been no word since on the type of assistance or the timeline in which it will be provided.

The fundraising efforts continue this week with a “walk/cyclethon” slated for this Friday at 5.30am – a collaboration between the Irene B Williams Secondary, the All Saints Secondary, the Liberta Primary, the JT Ambrose Primary and the Cobbs Cross Primary schools.

A EC$10 contribution is requested, with all funds going toward Simon’s medical treatment.

That event precedes a fundraising hike scheduled for June 19, at the Long Trail in the Wallings Nature Reserve, also starting at 5.30am.

A EC$15 contribution is attached, inclusive of breakfast, with the proceeds similarly going toward Simon’s treatment.

A post on Beatrice’s Facebook page shows the family is also having a vehicle sale to assist with securing funds, namely two 2008 and one 2010 Toyota Vitz at $12,000 each; two Toyota Bevris at $15,000 each; one Toyota Note at $12,000; and one Toyota Fortuner at $15,000.

The post goes on to read that the paperwork for the change of ownership of the vehicles is being finalised, and interested persons should contact Beatrice at 776-6541.

Persons interested in contributing to the fundraising efforts can do so via the Caribbean Union Bank at account number – 20004089, the Community First Credit Union at account number – 098425, or the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank at account number – 131003564.

The GoFundMe account can also be found at https://gofund.me/49f11497.

On May 18, Kenyatta Benjamin, 39, of Hatton, was charged with dangerous driving in relation to the May 8 incident. He was bailed and is due back in court on July 28.

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