Bathurst community rallies to help Neil Kearney after boating accident

FAMILY: Neil Kearney (centre), who remains in a critical condition at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, with his mother and father, John and Robyn.
FAMILY: Neil Kearney (centre), who remains in a critical condition at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, with his mother and father, John and Robyn.

THE community has rallied to help a Bathurst man critically injured in a boating accident at Wyangala Dam.

Neil Kearney, who works at Mitre 10, sustained critical head injuries after falling from a boat on December 30 and was airlifted to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

His parents rushed to be with him, and he remains critically injured in the intensive care ward of the hospital.

Mr Kearney’s friend, Simon Widauer, wanted to do something to help the family and on Friday set up a Go Fund Me Page with the goal of raising $10,000 to help Mr Kearney’s family with the costs of staying with him in Sydney.

It took just three days for that fundraising goal to be reached, but Mr Widauer said he will keep the Go Fund Me page going to try to raise as much money as possible.

Mr Widauer said everyone was gutted by the news Mr Kearney had been injured and the fact almost $10,000 had been raised in just three days was testimony to the sort of person he is.

“We created this page to help assist with the costs associated with getting Neil through this,” he said.

“We know he's a fighter and we can only hope that he will be telling this tale over a few beers one day. But for now he urgently needs our help. Anything you can contribute will make all the difference.”

Mr Widauer said Mr Kearney’s condition had improved a little since he had been airlifted, though he had yet to regain consciousness.

“He went into surgery as soon as he got to Sydney to relieve the pressure on his brain,” Mr Widauer said.

“It’s still very early days and who knows how long his recovery will be, so I’m hoping we can raise as much money as possible to take the pressure off his family so they can be with him while he recovers.”

Mr Widauer said Mr Kearney was no longer under sedation.

But he is still unresponsive due to his head injury. 

“He is moving his body a lot, particularly his left side, tapping his hands and feet, holding on to things, etc. His eyes have been slightly open sometimes and his heart rate has suggested that he is responding to music. All in all, he's still in a very bad way, but is showing little signs of improvement every day,” he said.

“At best, it will be a very long recovery process.”

Mr Widauer said Mr Kearney’s parents John and Robyn dropped everything to get down to Sydney after Mr Kearney was injured.

“They are staying in a nearby motel, so there are a lot of costs involved, so while $10,000 is a great start, I’d love to raise as much as we can to help them out, because it really is a struggle,” he said.

Those wanting to donate can do so by going to the page

Mr Widauer said he was “lost for words” at the way people had supported Mr Kearney’s family.