By Gemma Handy
National cyclist Andre Simon who was left fighting for his life after a motorist ploughed into him and three other cyclists on May 8 has been moved out of intensive care.
The 36-year-old is no longer reliant on a ventilator to breathe, hence his transferral to a different hospital ward, but he remains unconscious and in dire need of further treatment overseas, relatives told Observer yesterday.
Meanwhile, an online appeal has now surpassed US$30,000 in funds donated to send Simon, who suffered head trauma and internal bleeding, to New York for specialised medical care.
His brother Dwayne Simon said the family hoped he would be able to leave within three to five days.
While the athlete’s insurance is expected to cover some of the associated expenses, the process of receiving it is complex and protracted, and it is likely to fall significantly short of the amount needed, he explained.
A GoFundMe page set up to enable members of the public to assist has a US$500,000 target, which is around the size of the deposit many medical facilities require for such treatment.
The cost of transporting Simon to the US by air ambulance is likely to top US$50,000 alone, Dwayne Simon said. And the stateside hospital bills are hard to evaluate without knowing the potential duration of the cyclist’s stay.
The family is requesting no visitors for Simon at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre where he remains in the meantime, due to fears of Covid contagion. Simon will have to test negative for the virus to be able to fly, his brother explained.
The road smash which injured Simon – along with fellow cyclists Sean Weathered, Ghere Coates and Tiziano Rosignoli – shocked the nation earlier this month. A Toyota Vitz struck Weathered first, before knocking down his companions. The group had been enjoying an early morning ride along Sir George Walter Highway.
Weathered, Coates and Rosignoli also received hospital treatment but were later discharged.
On May 18, motorist Kenyatta Benjamin, 39, of Hatton, was charged with dangerous driving. He was bailed and is due back in court on July 28.
Anyone wishing to donate towards Simon’s transport to the US and treatment can do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/qjahxu-help-andre-live