Tadhg McEntee, 18, originally from Longstanton, was found by a family member at the home in Kentucky where he was living while studying to graduate high school. He was rushed to hospital but is believed to have suffered some brain damage and has not yet woken up.
Now his best friend, Andre Payne, from Bar Hill, is trying to raise funds to pay for Tadhg’s hospital bills in America where he is in intensive care.
Andre, 19, a bartender, said: “Obviously we are hoping for the best and this money is for his healthcare costs and to fly him home, but we are also preparing for the worst.
“I’ve known Tadhg since we met at school. Our little brothers and sisters are also really close and our mums are inseparable. We have all been really close since the day we met.
“I heard about Tadgh when my mum spoke to Trish [Tadgh’s mother]. I was really shocked because I spoke to him just two days before and he was full of life. This was just so unexpected.
“A lot of people we went to school and college with have chipped in and given what they can. He was supposed to be coming home next month. It’s such a shock because everyone was preparing for him to come back and looking forward to seeing him.
“When he went he was only supposed to go for a holiday, but he ended up liking it and swapping his school to stay with family, so that was unexpected and we didn’t get to say a proper goodbye, and now this has happened.
“A lot of people have reached out with support when they heard the news because Tadgh is such a big character, he’s the biggest personality in the room and they can’t believe this has happened. He is the life and soul of every party.
“When I set up the fundraising page I didn’t know where to set the target, so we started at £10,000 but it’s likely the family will need much more than that because healthcare is so expensive in the US. They will need to pay for their flights over there too because his brother and sister have gone out to be with his mum. I just hope we can help a bit.”
Tadhg had just passed his high school exams and was planning to spend the summer with friends in Kentucky before coming home next month. Now it is uncertain how he will be when he wakes up and his younger brother, Turlough, and sister, Alannah, have flown out with their mum to be with him.
His mum, Trish Betts Masters, from Longstanton, is by his bedside in intensive care. She told the Cambridge Independent: “Before I got to America I went into a state of shock. It was the fear because I wasn’t with him. I understood he was critically ill and the first 72 hours are critical and I couldn’t be there. But now I’m with him and we will get through this together. He has so much support here you would have thought Tadhg had lived there his whole life.
“It’s God’s country in Kentucky and the church is saying prayers for him and there is so much love for him. It’s really heartwarming. His friends have messaged me. One girl got in touch to say he had really helped her when she was new to the school. He has always been compassionate and caring, he’s a teenage boy but he has a massive heart and people seem to gravitate to him.
“When I got there they said that his MRI scan showed brain damage but that his brain stem is intact. They do not know the extent it will impact on his life and that’s all they will say. So when they get his medication right he will go into rehabilitation. We don’t know if he will need long-term nursing. We don’t know what it will look like, but I will be here with him.
“His brother and sister are utterly broken. They are being incredibly brave but they are devastated. He’s their big brother.
“They are having to bring him out of the coma incredibly slowly, but amongst all that we are staying positive because we have been told he will survive.
“I’m so grateful to Andre for setting up the fundraising page. We’ve always been very close with his family, his mum is my best friend, and the two boys are more like cousins than friends.”
To donate, visit uk.gofundme.com/f/help-tadhg.
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