By Kyra Gillespie
Well-loved Narre Warren local Bill Athanasopoulos is fighting for life after falling from a second storey balcony over the weekend.
The soon to be 24-year-old attempted to sit up on a balcony ledge while with friends in Clyde North when he fell backwards almost four metres onto concrete.
He was airlifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital following the “freak accident” on Saturday 19 May and is now suffering from a severe brain injury that has left him in a coma, along with broken ribs and a fractured back.
“It was an absolute freak accident that just happened so quickly it was like a bad dream,” best friend Ben Draper said.
“Two ambulances came within 5 minutes and the helicopter was not long after that.
“The paramedics did an absolutely amazing job; without them Billy wouldn’t even be alive right now.
“We were told he was going to pass away Saturday morning but he’s still here fighting which just goes to show how strong his is.”
The accident has devastated his family and the wider community.
A GoFundMe page has been launched to raise vital funds for the young footballer’s long road to recovery and to assist his family with the cost of the airlift, which Billy was not covered for.
The page has already garnered over $25,000 of the $50,000 goal in just two days.
“This is only the beginning for Billy’s journey, when he wakes up, he will have a long road to recovery, leaving him and his family with ongoing costs to cover his rehabilitation,” page creator Kelly Bradwell said.
“The money raised will go to the costs of rehabilitation, time off work for both Billy and his parents – who have not left his side during this hard time – and to cover the costs of air lift to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
“We would really appreciate if you can keep Billy in your minds during this hard time and give him the strength he needs to pull through these horrible circumstances.”
Hundreds of comments of support and well-wishes for Bill have poured in on social media, labelling the young man a “fighter”, “a good mate” and someone who brings joy to those around him.
Narre Warren nightclub Empire called him a “local legend and dear friend” in a public statement and said they would have “a cold beer waiting” for him upon recovery.
To support the Athanasopoulos family, head to https://www.gofundme.com/get-behind-our-boy-bill.