Friends rally round injured mountaineer

Friends have rallied round Dave Hollinger.
Friends have rallied round Dave Hollinger.

A fundraising effort has been started in aid of Dave Hollinger following a skiing accident.

Dave, who is the son of former Ballyclare High School Vice Principal, Wilbert Hollinger, sustained a broken neck, before suffering a stroke after a fall on a ski slope in March 2018.

The experienced mountaineer and skier fell while skiing at the Lecht, Scotland. During the fall, the back of his neck struck a snow fence post, sticking slightly out of the deep snow pack.

Almost a year after the incident, the former Tildarg resident’s colleagues at Glenmore Lodge have started an online fundraising page in aid of their friend.

Shaun Roberts, principal Glenmore Lodge, said: “Hospital scans confirmed that he had fractured C6 vertebrae in his neck. As he spoke to colleagues after the incident it was clear the fracture was stable, the spinal cord was undamaged and all being well, a full recovery would be expected once the fracture was given time to heal.

“The cruellest blow however was yet to come and several hours later, Dave suffered a serious brain stem stroke, caused by the severe whiplash of the initial trauma to his upper neck.

“The stroke had left Dave in the grips of ‘Locked in Syndrome’ and fully reliant on a ventilator.”

Shaun added: “Now in Sheffield, at a specialist rehab centre, he is free of the ventilator. He will turn his head to see you enter the room, and slowly raise a hand as a greeting.

“Still no spoken words, but patiently he will spell out a sentence on a screen with eye movement, to be spoken by electronic software. Frustrating for a man who delights in conversation and has such a recognisable Belfast accent.

“As yet Dave cannot stand unaided or walk, but there is strength in his body and he can achieve movement with support from others during his busy rehab programme. He is still fighting for every possible gain and he is still inspiring us all.

“Collectively the mountaineering and outdoor community are getting together through the ‘inspired-by-Dave’ crowd funding campaign, to see what we can do to help build resources to support Dave’s rehab and future.”

If you would like to make a donation, go to www.gofundme.com/inspired-by-dave

At the time of going to print, over £40,000 has been raised.