L.A. Now

Injured Irish student vows 'most fulfilling life possible'

Young woman injured in balcony collapse will honor dead by living "happiest ... most fulfilling life possible"

In a Facebook post Wednesday, one of the Irish students seriously injured in last week's Berkeley balcony collapse said her takeaway is that "life is short" and she intends "to honor those who died by living the happiest and most fulfilling life possible."

Clodagh Cogley was among the seven Irish students injured in the June 16 early morning balcony collapse that left six dead. She and the others -- all ages 20 to 22 -- had come to the U.S. to work and travel as part of the decades-old J1 visa program.

Cogley relayed to friends in her post that the fall "left me with 2 collapsed lungs, a broken shoulder, a broken knee, 5 broken ribs and a broken spinal cord... Meaning the chances of me using my legs again are pretty bleak."

The odds are "not the best," Cogley said, but she shared that she would soon be moving to a rehabilitation center for two months "and I intend to give it everything I've got. Who knows maybe legs have been holding me back all these years and I'll realize my talent for wheelchair basketball."

"Enjoy a good dance and the feeling of grass beneath your feet like it's the last time because in this crazy world you never know when it might be," she said.

Clodagh is among six who remain hospitalized. Sean Fahey, who broke his leg, was discharged and returned to Ireland this week. Hospital officials have said that two other young men at John Muir Health Center are in fair condition.

The conditions of the remaining three -- a young man at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where Clodagh is being treated, and two young women at Oakland's Highland Hospital -- have not been made public. However, Philip Grant, the San Francisco-based Irish general consul for the West, said they are all on a long road to recovery.

The tragedy brought an outpouring of support from fellow J1 students around the country, religious leaders and Irish expatriates, among others.

Twitter: @leeromney



Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World