Monday, June 28, 2010

More donations to thank you for!

I said we'd have the photos up of Luka Bloom's guitar; sorry, just haven't had a chance to get it done yet. But we should have it up by tonight!
In the meantime, your continuing donations are so greatly appreciated! Last night I visited with The Man Himself, and Brian was overwhelmed at how much generosity has been shown to him from this website and the Quiz Night Fundraiser. He is making impressive progress. Last night he was showing us his sit-ups & ab crunch exercises and we practiced a few new stretching techniques. Brian continues to impress us with his memory - it's come back with a vengeance. He was reciting poetry from memory; we asked him all the trivia questions from the Quiz Night Fundraiser and he got nearly all of them right! A few hours later, we asked him the trivia again and the few questions he had gotten wrong earlier, he knew all the answers to the second time around!
His memory of people, places, events, conversations... almost anything comes back to him with near-perfect clarity - almost as if he had never been hurt.
But of course, he was hurt. It's heartbreaking that with his fabulous memory, he still can't see. Or that such a brilliant mind is trapped in a body that needs help doing even very basic activities.
There is hope for Brian - that's the whole point of this website. You can be a part of it by making a donation, no matter how big or small. Even if you can't donate, you can help Brian by forwarding this website to everyone you can.

Our most recent donors (Thank you so very much!):
Megumi I, Mansfield, TX $100.00
David H, Basel, Switzerland $100.00
Joanne P, Whangarei, New Zealand $60.00

All our donors are amazing people. You will always have a special place in our family.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Amazed at the generosity!

Brian's fundraiser last night took in just under €10,000! Some fantastic prizes were given out, and there were some silent auction prizes that went for a pretty penny! In addition, this website has recieved a net total of $1,460.70 (€1,186.41)! Great things are happening for Brian! He was in great spirits for the entire thing; they even played a recording of a couple of Brian's songs - everyone cried!
Many thanks to the Strand Hotel for the Shannon Suite, the great food and the terrific bartenders! Also to everyone who donated prizes, their time, effort and money all for Brian's wonderful cause!
Now- another matter. The fundraiser isn't over! Not all of the silent auction items made the minimum bid. Therefor the auction will be continued here! The top item will be auctioned off here online - Luka Bloom's guitar, donated and signed by Luka Bloom!

Finally, along with the folks at the fundraiser last night (at least 500 people!), enormous thanks to our lated web contributors:
Connie M, Limerick, Ireland $100.00
Sean & Tracey H, Brisbane, Australia $100.00

Many thanks! And there'll be photos of the party and the items for auction up here within the next day!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Brain's fundraiser a smashing success!

It's nearly 3 am after Brian Hogan's fundraiser at the Strand Hotel. I can't give you a tally on the grand total taken in for Brian just yet, but I can tell you it was a good dent in it! Much fun was had by all during the quiz, many prizes were given out, and the band played on into the wee hours. And Brian himself, the Man of the Moment, held court throughout the evening!
More details & photos to come!
Also, some very valuable silent auction items were not sold, so those will be available on this site very soon! Watch this spot for some great items you'll definitely want - and every penny goes to Brian's care!

Even if you don't want or care about any of the wonderful prizes available, you can still contribute to Brian using the PayPal button on this site. Even if you can't contribute, you can still help Brian by spreading the word! Email your friends, use one of the social networking links on the right of this page, or just tell your friends about Brian and this website!
Thanks again for all of Brian's supporters!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Many thanks to Brian's latest contributors!

The response to this website is so encouraging! Your generosity is truly appreciated! Brian's fundraiser is at the Strand Hotel in Limerick, Ireland on Thursday night, June 24. We'll take plenty of photos and post them here for you to enjoy! The proceeds from this website, along with the fundraiser, will be a wonderful boost to Brian and all his family. Hope you can attend! If you can't, you can always be a part of Brian's long road to recovery by either donating or forwarding this website to your friends or social networking site. Or you could do both! Thanks once again, in particular to Brian's latest benefactors-

Jewel C, Aurora, CO $50.00
Anne G, Brooklyn, NY $100.00
Ciaran B, Limerick, Ireland $30.00
Scott A, Nottingham, UK $30.00
Brian C, Las Vegas, NV $100.00

See you at the Strand!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fwd: Brian Hogan Jr. Update - June 21, 2010

Grainne's latest update on Brian!-

Subject: Brian Hogan Jr. Update - June 21, 2010

Hello from the land of Guinness and Tayto!

Just a quick update, now that I've seen "the kid" himself, in his "new habitat".  Brian was really excited to "see" me.  He kept introducing me to staff and other "inmates" over and over.  I'm sure they were sick of shaking my hand.  I arrived in Ireland with absolutely no luggage, so I had been in the same clothes for almost 36 hours.  He wouldn't have minded if I visited him in a purple velor suit.

We had a great 1st day together.  His mood was fabulous.  Toward the end of the day we sat at the computer and I started reading the early updates to him, along with all your responses.  I'm not sure how I held it together, as some of those updates were quiet emotional, but I managed it.  Brian kept saying "well done, well done, now tell me who responded"!  If you think he doesn't hear the responses - wrong.  He loves all the details!  So don't be afraid to hit "reply" and tell me what you're thinking.

Most of the time Brian is in good form, but when he's sad, it's heartbreaking.  He just hangs his head and says "I'm so sad".  The only upside to him not being able to see - he can't see us crying.  I was able to compose myself until yesterday, and then the heavens opened and I thought they'd never close. 

Plans for Brian's Fundraiser are going really well.  Although we've never had any experience with this sort of thing, everyone has been fabulous.  We're not even sure if we're doing it right, but we'll figure it out!  We'll be sure to post pictures on Brian's new blog -

Feel free to send that link to as many people as you'd like.  Every bit helps, and you never know who's out there that know something about the right kind of treatment for Brian's eyesight loss.  Also, you never know who's dying to leave they're fortune to someone deserving!

Will email everyone again soon.

From my family to yours - "thank you".

Much love,

Hogan Family xx

More thanks for your help!

Brian's received more donation! Huge thanks to all! We have a long way to go, probably close to a million dollars for his stem cell therapy. But EVERY donation, no matter how big or small, is a blessing to help this fine young man get his sight back! Please forward this website to everyone you can!

Many thanks to:
Mark D, Co. Kildare, Ireland $100
Lauren D, Metairie, La. $100

Your generosity will not be forgotten!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Brian & his family- together at last!

Here's a wonderful family portrait. Brian's sister Grainne is visiting from America, a chance she hasn't got often enough!
Th Hogan family, from left to right:
Shane, Jonathan, Grainne, Phil, Brian Sr, Nevis & Siobhan. And of course Brian, the Man of the Moment, front & center!

Friday, June 18, 2010

More info on donations...

Astute Brenda O advised that some international donors might have trouble donating through the PayPal system using an online check (or "cheque," for you international types). To alleviate this, try using an ATM / debit card, or a credit card, or your PayPal account (which is totally free and easy to set up). Alternatively, you can make a donation to Brian Hogan via the following account:

Bank of Ireland
Customer service: 1890 251 251 or +353 56 7757747
Account: 48010494

Sort code: 90 07 62

The bank information is also on the image of the Fundraiser flier below.

Also, Brian has received additional donations! Many thanks to
Bonnie K, Brooklyn, NY $150.00
Gregory G, New Orleans, La $100.00
Danielle D, New Orleans, La. $100.00

Thank you!  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Many thanks!

In just three days since starting this website, Brian has received five donations totaling $254.79 (€207.11)! Thank you for your wonderful generosity! It's a great start for such a worthy individual. As of today, Brian's sister Grainne is winging her way to the Emerald Isle to visit her brother for what is sure to be a joyful reunion. His first fundraiser in Ireland takes place next week, June 24, at the Strand Hotel in Limerick (see the flyer below). If you can go, please do! A fun night is sure to be had by all! If you can't attend, you can still be part of it - the first proceeds from this website will be presented to Brian then! He and his family are already overjoyed by the generosity of people like you; let's keep it up!

The tally so far:
Mark R, New Orleans, La: $19.79
George O, Harahan, La: $100.00
Carolyn B, Fanwood NJ: $100.00
Laura W, Co. Antrim, UK: $20.00
Niamh B, Co. Cork, Ireland: $15.00

(If you would like your donation to remain anonymous, include that info in the PayPal message screen.)

Till next time- hope to see you at the fundraiser!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TV Interview with Brian Hogan

Watch this TV interview with Brain & his father and sister. Then come back to this page, view his photos, read his story - and realize that any contribution you make, no matter who big or how small, will make a difference for the better to all these wonderful folks!

Ireland's TV3 video:

Here's to Brian seeing again!

If you'd like to comment on this blog, please do so!

Brian (center) and his two younger brothers, Shane (left) & Jonathan (right).
Both spend time every day helping their big bro!

Brian at the Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland.

At Linden Lodge, Brian's rehab facility in Nottingham. Brian and his dad, Brian Senior.

Brian out and about back in the "normal days." 

What a good-looking, happy fella!

We'll read your comments to Brian as his "fan mail"!  He loves it!

Thank you!

- The Hogan Family

Monday, June 14, 2010

Article From the Irish Examiner Describing What Happened to Brian

The article can also be found by clicking here.

Back from the brink

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
"THIS case is a tragic one after a night out enjoyed by all," wrote Detective Constable Emma Neal, as she recalled the judge’s words in the case of a young man left blind and severely disabled when a single punch rewrote his life story.

DC Neal, a member of the Anti-Corruption Unit in Nottinghamshire, Britain, had been working on Brian Hogan’s case since July 19, 2009, the date 33-year-old British man Martin Slack delivered the blow that blew Brian’s world asunder.

DC Neal had attended Slack’s sentencing hearing on February 26 last and recorded what she could for the purpose of emailing Brian’s 38-year-old sister Grainne, married and living in New Orleans.

Recalling Justice David Clarke’s words DC Neal wrote: "An incident occurred in the street where this defendant, aged 33, struck a blow at the face of Brian Hogan. It connected near the left side of his jaw, it was a punch, a single punch, not delivered with intent to do such serious injury. No one present thought it would cause such serious injury but this caused Brian Hogan to fall and bang his head on the pavement."

Less than 24 hours later 32-year-old Brian Hogan, senior quantity surveyor, from Russell Court, Ballykeefe, Co Limerick, was in a coma that lasted three months — and given a 10% chance of pulling through.

Brian had been living in Nottingham for nine years and was working for the Bowmer & Kirkland Group, one of the largest privately owned construction and development groups in Britain. He had emigrated at age 23, having completed his studies at Moylish College in Limerick and having worked for a time for house builders Michael Lynch Ltd, in Ennis Co Clare, and Kirby’s in Limerick. He was very happy with his lot, according to his father, Brian Snr, and had made a nice life for himself in Nottingham.

On the night normality went out the window, Brian was in Nottingham city centre with a bunch of friends, celebrating, at a distance, the wedding of friends who had married in the States. They had been to a club and were returning home.

Slack had been talking earlier to a couple of girls in the group and when they were heading back to Brian’s house, asked if he could join them. At the behest of one of the girl’s, Brian said no. Slack, who had consumed nine to 10 pints, pulled Brian and punched him hard to the face. Brian fell and hit the right side of his head.

"It is clear he was unable to break his fall and fell backwards hard on to the pavement," the prosecution said.

Brian lost consciousness for two minutes and his friends called an ambulance. The paramedics arrived, but Brian came to and insisted he felt ok. He got out of the ambulance, and went home. He did not report any pain, dizziness or nausea.

Some of his friends stayed over in Brian’s house that night, among them a doctor. He vomited during the night but nobody realised just how sick he was. By noon the next day, he was unconscious. At that point, friends called an ambulance and he was taken to Queen’s University Hospital (QUH) in Nottingham. Doctors found he had suffered bruising and bleeding in the brain and a fractured skull resulting from the fall.

Back in Ireland, Brian’s father and mother, Brian Snr and his wife Phil, were winding down at the close of a holiday in their mobile home in Spanish Point, Co Clare, when Brian Snr received a phone call. It was a friend of his son’s calling from Nottingham and advising them to return home as quickly as possible. She said there had been an incident and that a doctor would be calling them from QUH.

The call came to Brian Snr’s mobile before they arrived back to Ballykeefe. "It was a consultant. He told us Brian was in a coma. We got a fair shock," Brian Snr said.

Brian Snr describes the period immediately after receiving this news as "a bad, bad time".

"We contacted the rest of the family, they all rallied together and we made arrangements to travel to Nottingham. There were 15 or 16 of us and we all stayed in Brian’s friend’s house for about a fortnight, with the exception of the first couple of nights that we spent at the hospital. Everyone of us was there most of the time."

Since then Brian Snr and Phil, and Brian’s sisters Siobhan, 40, Grainne, 39, Nevis, 37, and brothers — twins Shane and Jonathan, 27 — have taken turns to be with their son and brother. His mother and father spend half the week at home and half of it in Nottingham and when they’re not there, friends living locally pitch in. Grainne has travelled from New Orleans on four occasions to be with her brother.

Brian was victim of a most unfortunate set of circumstances on the night of July 19.

"That particular night everything went against him. He hadn’t spoke to his attacker, he didn’t know him. He was on his way home when your man threw a punch. There was a doctor in his company, but she didn’t spot anything wrong. It was too late by the time he arrived at the hospital next day," Brian Snr says.

Perhaps the most regrettable element in the overall tragedy was the fact that Brian regained consciousness long enough to go home: had he remained unconscious and been admitted to hospital the subsequent brain damage he suffered may not have been as extensive, or indeed, may not have occurred at all.

BRIAN came out of the coma very slowly, but even the tiniest improvement was cause for celebration.

"He began by first moving his fingers, then his toes; his eyes would flicker. We celebrated all of these things. We took it as a sign that he was recovering," Brian Snr says.

For about a month after coming out of the coma, Brian couldn’t speak.

His speech has returned gradually, but is not quite what it was. Speech therapy is an important part of his rehabilitation. Tragically, Brian remains blind. "The loss of sight is a killer for him," his father says.

"Some days he talks about buying an Audi A4 and then you wonder if he’s forgotten he can’t see."

Brian is aware of the incident that left him where he is now, but doesn’t remember the assault itself. Despite what his family describe as "an unbelievable sense of humour" he is getting increasingly impatient with having to stay at Lindon Lodge, a 21-bed rehabilitation unit within Nottingham University Hospital’s city campus, where Brian was transferred when he came out of the coma.

His sister Nevis talks of his frustration. He can no longer read the beloved James Herriot books of his childhood, but listens to them on CD.

"It takes him back to when he was a teenager reading and the laugh he would get out of James Herriot’s stories," Nevis says.

"Every day he tells me how scared he is that he’ll never see again. He looks for constant reassurance that we will leave no stone unturned to get his sight back." At one point, he tried to bribe his sister to bring him back to his house, 7km away. "He just wanted to get out of the hospital," Nevis says. Brian was a very active young man before the assault, not so much into sport, but keen on the gym, working out three or four mornings a week before heading into work. His father believes his fitness stood to him after the assault and helped him to pull through.

Brian’s doctor at Lindon Lodge has set a release date of May 5, at which point his family must find somewhere else for him to stay and continue his rehabilitation. They have begun the process of applying for a place for him at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire.

In the meantime, they are hoping to place him in a rehab unit closer to home, in Bruree, Newcastlewest, Askeaton, Co Limerick. They are also hopeful that a Limerick-based eye-specialist — who has had success in restoring sight to patients with acquired brain injury — will be able to work his magic to improve Brian’s eyesight.

So far, progress in Brian’s overall condition has been good. "At the beginning, the doctors said the best they could do was to get him back to 70%-80% of the Brian we knew before the incident. But they seem delighted with the progress he has made. Only weeks ago he had to be lifted out of the bed with a harness. Now we can sit him up, stand him up, turn him around. The improvement is huge," Brian Snr says. Mentally, Brian has cognitive difficulties, but his intellect is preserved. This is a blessing, but also a curse. "He knows what he has lost. He talks about getting back to work. At the moment, he spends his days doing very little and that is very hard for him. He’s a very outgoing kind of fella," Brian Snr says.

He was the life and soul of the party, always positive, always had something going on whenever he came home to visit his parents in Ballykeefe. His father misses that energy. They caught a little of the old Brian during a recent brief outing from Lindon Lodge. "We went to a club, about 100 yards away. He had half a pint and he started a sing-song. I thought we would be thrown out," his father says gleefully.

Brian Snr retired from the ESB this month, just slightly ahead of schedule. He had plans — to buy a camper van and travel wherever fancy took him, together with his wife of 41 years. Those plans are now on ice, but not abandoned. "Who’s to say it won’t happen?" he asks, "just not as soon as we had planned."

This optimism is also evident in his reaction to what happened to his son.

"If the same thing happened to any of our kids in the morning, we would go along with whatever challenges it brought, and as long as we are here, we will continue to do that. We’re very positive about everything, and all of the family is united in this. There is no room for negativity."

The family is looking forward to bringing Brian home, albeit Ballykeefe will require considerable adapting before it can cater to his needs.

Askeaton and Dun Laoghaire are likely to be home in the short term, although Brian’s sister Nevis is adamant it will eventually be Ballykeefe.

"Wherever we go, Brian will be coming with us, he’s not going to be put in a home and forgotten about," she says.

"We are all very positive and looking forward to getting Brian home, we are very positive about the future and we think we can get Brian back to where he was," Brian Snr says.

This positive mental attitude is key to the family’s forgiveness of Brian’s attacker. On the morning of Slack’s sentencing hearing, they hugged the accused’s father. "He was very upset. He kept apologising for his son. He cried the whole way through the hearing, for about three-quarters of an hour," Brian Snr says.

Brian Snr had decided from the outset that anger towards Slack was a waste of energy and that his focus would be on Brian.

"Even if he [Slack] had gotten off, I don’t think it would have affected us, we weren’t focusing on that. We didn’t feel any ill-will towards him. He struck me as the kind of fellow that could easily get into a bit of bother. A lot of fellows get involved in things like that.

"I asked a police woman how bad the assault was on a scale of one to 10, and she said it was right down at the bottom."

Slack got two years, three months for his crime, half to be spent in custody and the other half in the community. He has previous convictions: one offence of common assault in 1995 where he pushed someone’s arm, and a second offence of actual bodily harm the following year when he punched someone in the face in the street. At the sentencing hearing, Slack’s barrister described his action as "three seconds of madness". He said Slack had read the transcript of a DVD prepared for the court, featuring Brian, which had caused him to break down in tears.

DC Neal, in her account, said the judge "continually made comment about how dignified, intelligent and balanced Brian had been in his DVD". Brian’s father said his son was reliant on nursing staff but still had the ability to cry "giant tears from eyes that can’t see anymore".

The judge read out one of the quotes from Brian’s DVD. "I hope the defendant is made to realise that you don’t solve problems with using violence," he said. He also read out what Brian said about the defendant along the lines of "I’m sure he has a family that love him also".

IN HIS summing up, Justice David Clarke said "a case of a single punch, in the street, is the course of violent incidents in city centres at night, punches that in the vast majority of cases, do not cause serious injury but, which can, as in Brian’s case, have devastating consequences". After the hearing, Detective Sergeant Justine Wilson said: "This incident shows how one reckless and violent act can have the most devastating consequences on a life."

As Brian’s family left court that morning, DC Neal spoke with mum Phil. "She looked over to Slack’s family and expressed that she thought she would like to speak to them. I told her that was something for her to decide on and with her usual warm and caring nature she went over and spoke to them, along with your dad," DC Neal wrote in her email to Grainne Hogan.

"I heard Slack’s dad say how sorry he was, they spent a few minutes talking, hands were shook and it was all very good-natured. Your mum later said she was happy that she had done that and I think it made her feel a lot better. Your parents are really incredibly brave and selfless people," DC Neal concluded.

Add to those qualities incredibly accepting. "I know what happened to Brian is really very very unfortunate but it is the type of thing that happens in the smallest of villages on a Saturday night," Brian Snr says.

He wants parents to be aware of this, and it is his motivation behind telling his son’s story.

"You bring your kids up as best you can, but once they get to a certain age you can no longer tell them what to do — you can only advise them.

"So advise them to stay away from the city centre, or if they go there, to get a taxi home, and to take precautions and look out for each other and if someone gets a bang to the head, don’t take their word for it that they are okay. Everyone, including Brian, thought he was fine. He was not."

* A fundraising event for Brian is being organised for June. For more details contact Nevis Hogan by email at

There are also plans to set up a Facebook page for those who would like to track Brian’s progress.

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