Monday, July 19, 2010

Slowly but surely... Brian's first year

It's hard to believe, but it's been one year ago today (19 July) that Brian was first injured. He's made some amazing progress. If you've listened to him singing in the YouTube videos ( and, you know this firsthand. But he has a long way to go. Your support, whether it's through donations, or visits to Brian and his family or just keeping up with this blog is enormously appreciated and keeps Brian and his family going day by day.
Research for Brian's treatment is going slowly, but steadily. I've gotten several emails and phone calls from both facilities and patients who have received stem-cell therapy. Several different people I've talked too have been most helpful and hopeful for Brian's recovery. Many thanks to all who have responded!
Brian has yet to see the Neuro-Ophthalmologist in Dun Laoghaire, so once that happens, we'll be in a better position to know exactly where to turn next! 
Some of the interesting things I've found out:
It may not necessary to go all the way to India. Promising results might be as close as Europe or North America!
One patient's father said treatment for his son cost around $30,000 - so we may be much closer to getting Brian's therapy than we thought! 
Based on others' experiences with stem cells, results might begin to be noticed within just a few days of treatment!

Still, Brian has a long way to go. Below is part of Grainne's (Brian's sister) email update on Brian. If you'd like to receive Grainne's updates in your own email, just let me know and I'll forward your address on to her.

And last but not least - many, many thanks to Brian's latest donors! 
Rob P, Deventer, the Netherlands $10.00
Beverly C, New Orleans, La. $26.00
Lea B, Nottinghamshire, UK $75.00

Here's Grainne's update:

Dear Family & Friends,

It's hard to believe that today, July 19, 2010, is the first anniversary of Brian's attack.  We've all come so far, and we've watched Brian come even further.  Getting a phone call the morning after Brian's attack is something you just never prepare yourself for.  When you live away from "home", you always dread the phone ringing early in the morning, but nothing prepares you for bad news – nothing.  I dreaded today, and I dread tomorrow, but a year has flown by. For that, we're all grateful!

Brian has been in Ireland since May 8, and he's doing well in so many ways.  I spent the last two weeks in June with him, and he's amazing.  He's now engaged in Physical Therapy 4 times a week, but that's not enough for Brian; he uses the bike pedals at Beech Lodge, for over an hour every day.  He's involved in several types of therapy, including music therapy.  This is his favorite one, as most of you know he's a huge music fan.  Brian had a tracheotomy for over 3 months, so his voice has changed, but it hasn't stopped him singing. 

As time goes on, we're hearing more and more about the severity of Brian's initial injury.  He suffered several serious strokes in the early stages of injury, which is the reason for his left side paralysis.  The "experts" said, "he'll never have use of his left side again, but you should see him ride those pedals!  He's working hard on his upper left side too, but it's taking a while. 

While I was in Ireland, we hosted a Fundraiser for Brian.  This was strongly encouraged by media, and friends, as a way for people to show their support for Brian.  We're knee deep in research for Stem Cell treatment, but there are so many places, and with every success story, there are some horror stories, so we're not about to jump into anything without knowing as much as possible.  Brian's blindness is the worst for him (and us, of course).  Not a day goes by when he doesn't say, "do you think I'll ever see again"?  It's like someone stabbing you with a spoon. 

The Fundraiser was a blast.  We had planned for about 200 attendees, but we're pretty sure the turn out was more like 450 to 500! What a great night!  Of course, Brian stole the show, over and over.  To be honest, the turnout was a true testament to my parents.  If you knew how much they do every single day, you would wonder how it was at all possible.  My whole family works hard every day at taking care of Brian, but my parents are responsible for more than I can begin to explain.

Dealing with the paperwork side of Brian's condition is a nightmare.  Thought Brian lived and worked in the UK for over 9 years, the UK denied Brian any type of disability.  We couldn't even get Brian into the Irish system until he was physically in the country, so we had to start the process in May, and it's only now starting to come together.  We're a long way from getting it done, but it's a constant flow of paperwork after paperwork, after phone call, after meeting. 

We've set up a blog for Brian, so we'll be putting these updates on there. It's a blog that you can comment if you'd like.  Feel free to forward the link to your friends, or you can put it on your facebook or twitter, as a way to show support for Brian, and his ongoing rehab. 

Now, more than ever, Brian would love to hear from you.  He's having a really tough time, and it's always good for him to hear words of encouragement.  Even if you don't know Brian, you can email, or comment.  We all have something to say, so if you want to say something – come on, say it!  Just because Brian is no longer in England, it doesn't mean that he doesn't miss it.  Nottingham is where Brian chose to live.  He fell in love with Nottingham, and built his whole life there.  Out of sight, out of mind, is easy for us, but for Brian, he's trapped inside his own body and mind right now, so if you can take the time to write a few words of encouragement – thank you, thank you.

If you'd like to use the "donate" button on Brian's blog page, go right ahead.  Every single penny goes into Brian's Trust account, and it's all for Brian's medical care.  Stem Cell treatment is not covered by Brian's insurance, but we're not about to tell him "sorry, we can't afford to try EVERYTHING possible to give you your eyesight", so if you can help, go for it! 

I'll keep the updates coming.  They're a little less frequent, but it's only because progress is slow.  It's slow, yet steady, and moving in the right direction, and that's what matters. 

From my very grateful family to you and yours – thank you, thank you.

Much love,

Brian Sr., Phil, Siobhan, Grainne, Nevis, Brian Jr., Jonathan, and Shane.  xxx

Monday, July 12, 2010

Spreading the word!

Many thanks to Dr. Alan Glazier (@eyeinfo on Twitter) for helping to spread the word on his website,! He's put up this special post on his blog dedicated to Brian and the research we've been doing to get the particulars about stem cell treatment! It's people like this and all of you reading this page that will help Brian and others like him to regain their vision and live a more normal life after such debilitating injuries.

On behalf of the Hogan family, myself and especially Brian Hogan, Jr. - Thank you, Dr. Glazier!

The work continues!

Spent the last couple days researching stem cell therapy. We already know the basics of what is involved, the difficult part has been trying to find a facility or hospital that actually performs the procedure. 
If you're reading this post and you are involved in stem cell treatment, or you have had stem cell treatment yourself, I'd love to hear from you! Brian has an appointment in Dun Laoghaire this month with a Neuro-Ophthamologist, so I sure some of our questions might be answered then, but if not, then Brian needs your help with information!
Who performs stem cell treatment for optic nerve atrophy? Where will Brian need to go to get it? How much does it cost? What is the most likely outcome for Brian? How many people have been treated and what was their outcome? How can we contact these people and facilities?
Post your replies in the comments, or feel free to email me at

Also, much gratitude to Brian's latest benefactors:
Chris P, New Orleans, LA $50.00
Richard of for posting this fantastic article about Brian and spreading the word! (@sturtledotcom on Twitter)

Thanks very much! And if you have any info on the specifics of stem cell therapy mentioned above, email me or post in the comments!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Another Treat from Our Man Brian! To the Moon

A Special Treat: Preacher Man

Thank you for your help!

More donations for Brian have been received and are deeply appreciated! Brian's latest benefactors:

Louise M, Sydney, Australia $100.00
Lauren M, New Orleans, La $80.00

Your continuing donations are being put to good use in saving for Brian's therapy!

It's taking a lot of work researching stem cell treatment for Brian's blindness, but your donations and support are helping make it all worth it! Every penny is going to Brian. So far, this website has raised $1884.65! (after PayPal fees). Thats €1492.20! Thank you for your help! By the way, the fundraiser Quiz Night raised over €10,000 for Brian! We expected about 200 people, but over 500 showed up for a great night! Many thanks to the Strand Hotel for their donation of the Shannon Suite for the party! By the way, your bartenders are the BEST!

Brian is doing well. He's kept busy with his physical therapy, music therapy and frequent visits from family and friends. He's able to get himself out of the car on his own, and can walk a bit too! His mind is a sharp as ever; if you go visit him, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the stories he has to tell you! He'll keep you in stitches laughing! Brian also has a great friend at the Neuro Rehab in Bruree, Dave South. He's been wonderful in keeping Brian company when the family can't be there. He'll be reading this to Brian, so Dave, good man yourself! You are very well spoken of in the Hogan house!

In other news, we're still waiting for bids on Luka Bloom's guitar! See the photos of this terrific instrument below. If the idea of an auction scares you, then think of it as making an offer! Remember your offer goes to help Brian get his sight back! And if you make a ludicrously high offer, we can throw in the shipping! Own a bit of musical history!

Again, thanks for all you've done for Brian. Please use one of the links in the right-hand column to alert others to this website via Twitter, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon or any of the social networking sites. Keep spreading the word!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fwd: More Guitar pics! You can own Luka Bloom's guitar & help a wonderful person!

Oops, got delayed in posting more pics! Sorry! Luka Bloom's guitar is a 20 year-old Alvarez acoustic guitar in PERFECT condition! Bid on it now to acquire this piece of musical history. Auction goes till the end of July (see the next post to view the details of the auction). Along with owning this one-of-a-kind treasure, you'll be helping Brian to regain his sight! Everybody wins!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Auction for Luka Bloom's signed guitar to benefit Brian Hogan!

Grainne & Sean finally arrived back in America after a very good visit with Brian in Ireland. Here are the photos of Luka Bloom signing his guitar he donated for Brian's fundraiser. The guitar didn't sell, so it's being offered for auction here online. Luka specifically said that the guitar was to be auctioned for no less than €1500.00, so we're starting the bidding at that. If you need to convert your local currency to Euros, there's a currency converter at the very bottom of this page. There will also be more photos of the guitar posted later on today. If you'd like to find out more about him, here's the link for Luka Bloom's website - listen to his fantastic music!

A few words about the guitar: it is in MINT condition! Not a ding or scratch anywhere and the sound is absolutely... well, musical. The carrying case is also one of the attractive features - it's been all over the world and has the most beautiful scars to prove it!

To bid silently on the guitar, send an email to, not via the PayPal button on this page. I'll update the current bid daily. Be aware that shipping is not included in the bid, but if you want to calculate the shipping yourself and choose your own method of shipping, we'll be happy to ship it whatever way you want. Just be aware that the guitar will ship from Limerick, Ireland, so choose a method that is available there. We will notify you by email of the price of shipping if you would prefer us to handle all the shipping arrangements. Alternately, you can drive on over and collect it yourself (the address will be provided to the highest bidder by email). Since this is a fundraiser for Brian Hogan, there can be NO REFUNDS on your winning bid.The auction will continue for one month and will close at midnight Monday, 1 August, 2010, UCT (Greenwich Mean Time). The winner will be announced on this site and via email at that time. If the funds for the winning bid have not been received within 48 hours of the close of the auction, the next highest bidder will be notified and that will be the winner.

And of course, outright donations are always accepted via the PayPal button on the right-hand side of the page.
Good luck and spread the word!

Luka Bloom signing his guitar for Brian and a lucky winner!

Brian's sister Nevis Hogan and Luka Bloom.

The signed guitar in its case (perfect condition!)

You can be the highest bidder on this terrific and beautiful instrument!

Some of the prizes at Brian's fundraiser, 24 June, 2010.

Brian Hogan, Jr. with Dennis from Nottingham, his brother Shane Hogan and brother-in-law Sean Fitzmorris at the fundraiser 24 June, 2010. You can help him lose the dark glasses and see again! Isn't that worth your donation, no matter how large or small?