Funding appeal for Belfast man left in coma following altercation in Sydney
A Northern Ireland man has been left in a coma in Australia with serious head injuries following a New Year's Day fracas.
Michael Hyndman, aged in his 20s and from Belfast, had been seeing in the new year in Sydney with his fiancée Clar and brother Christopher when the incident happened.
His family have said they are now facing "a living nightmare" after the celebrations took a dark turn and Mr Hyland received "a devastating blow" to the head during the altercation on January 1.
After surgery, doctors took the decision to place him in an induced coma.
As the distressing news filtered home to Northern Ireland, a fundraising page was set up yesterday to help the injured man's brother and fiancée stay by his bedside.
In less than 24 hours, donations have almost doubled the initial target of £3,000, with nearly £6,000 raised so far.
A heartfelt family message on the fundraising page read: "Anyone that knows Michael knows the kind of person he is. A true gentleman, full of life and full of fun, he has a heart of gold and would do anything to help out someone in need. It is now our turn to help Michael. So here we ask you to support Michael on this horrible journey in whatever way you can."
The appeal added how Mr Hyland and his fiancée had arrived in Sydney in September for what was supposed to be "a new and exciting chapter" in their lives.
Having recently graduated from Ulster University as a quantity surveyor, it's understood he had quickly found work in Australia.
The appeal continued: "We want to allow the family to be at Michael's bedside (for as long as is necessary) as he fights this, the hardest battle of his life.
"He really needs them there and they need to be there to support him through this. His fiancée Clar and brother Christopher are now without their closest family on the opposite end of the world, unable to work and bring in further financial support.
"Michael has a long road to recovery and we don't want financial worries to prevent him having what he needs to make a full recovery."
The extent of his injuries have not been disclosed at this stage, but the family have said he has an "uncertain" time ahead of him "but he is strong and we are all hoping and praying that he pulls through this and comes out the other end with his tongue sticking out".
As the donations poured in rapidly yesterday, many added their messages of support on social media.
One family member wrote: "He doesn't deserve this, not one bit. Anyone who knows Michael will know what a great man he is. He is so funny and cares about everyone."