Jeff “Swede” Swedenhjelm has made it safely to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he is being prepped for surgery.
“It’s a Christmas miracle,” said his daughter, Lyric.
Swede fell 33 feet Dec. 18 while chasing a monkey across a rooftop in Bali after it stole his favorite Pittsburgh Steelers cap. He was diagnosed with severe damage to his spinal cord and is paralyzed from the chest down.
Swede left Destin several years ago to work in Bali. He has no medical insurance and no money.
Friends and family have raised more than $73,000 for Swede to be transferred by MEDEVAC to a state-of-the-art medical facility. Lyric said the focus now is on rehabilitation. You can donate to the GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/getswedeanurgentMedeVac
“I had just gotten off the plane from school when we found out,” said Lyric, who is home from college in Chicago. “We’ve been living and breathing this. It’s going to be a long road to recovery.”
Lyric said she’s receives updates on her dad from his friend Scott Wells, who traveled from Hawaii to be at Swede’s side. He sends photos and texts in a group chat during the day in Malaysia while Lyric is asleep in Destin.
Celebrating Christmas was certainly bittersweet, Lyric said.
“Since he was able to get transferred, we were a little bit more relaxed,” Lyric said.
Tuesday was another important date — Lyric’s 21st birthday. She said her birthday typically is a day for her and her dad. Separated by more than 10,000 miles, Lyric planned to spend her birthday on Destin Harbor raising funds for her dad with the Black & Yellow Bar Crawl. She’ll will return to school later this week.
“We’re happy and grateful that the community has been there to help us,” she said. “We’re super, super thankful.”
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