By Alyce Collins
DURING a family trip to the UK for his BIRTHDAY, this American was ATTACKED with a pint glass on a night out which led to him losing his eye and needing a prosthetic.
Customer service associate, Jonathan Hockaday (20) from Ohio, USA, was visiting family in Birmingham, UK, when a male assailant provoked an attack on him during a night out, which resulted in a lengthy hospital stay and numerous surgeries.
Jonathan, who has a dual American and English citizenship as his dad is English, was visiting the UK with his brother and cousin back in April as part of his birthday celebrations.
While at a local club, Jonathan was approached by a male who mocked him for being from America and began to attack him by pinning Jonathan against a wall and smashing a pint glass on the left side of his face.
The emergency services were called, and Jonathan underwent multiple surgeries to remove the glass from his face in the hopes of saving his eyesight as his left eyeball was completely mutilated. There is permanent scarring on Jonathan’s face and nerve damage which has numbed from the eyebrow to the back of his head.
After three months of recovery, Jonathan had to have a prosthetic eye fitted which, despite not restoring his vision, has improved Jonathan’s confidence because it helps him to appear “normal” to strangers.
Jonathan’s attacker is currently serving 12 years in prison after being charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
“I grew up in the US with my family, but my dad is originally from England so I’m a dual citizen,” said Jonathan.
“The trip was a birthday celebration for my dad and I, but we also wanted to visit the many family members we have in the UK.
“The attack happened around midnight, in the early hours of April 14 when my brother, cousin and I were at a local club for the night. It seemed that the assailant wanted a fight and he began to antagonise me for being from a different country.
“He attacked me and then he turned to also attack my brother. I interfered to protect my brother and so the assailant came at me with a pint glass.
“He pinned me against the wall and smashed the pint glass on the left side of my face. After I sustained the major injuries to my face, other people helped to stop the bleeding and they called the emergency services.
“I underwent multiple surgeries to remove the glass and to attempt to salvage my eye as well as my eyesight.
“I also required assistance with managing the protective eye shield which they placed just underneath my eyelid.
“My condition was very bad – my eyeball was mangled from the impact of the glass and I completely lost all vision on my left side. So, I had to relearn a lot of daily tasks due to the change in depth perception.
“I also had lacerations on the back of my head, shoulder blade and cheek. Even today I have scarring across the left side of my face.
“The intense nerve damage has left me numb from my eyebrow up onto my scalp and towards the back of my head.”
The frightening attack has left Jonathan with life changing damage which saw him have to delay his journey home until he was well enough to fly back. Jonathan eventually flew back to America on May 1, over two weeks after the attack.
Jonathan and his family started a GoFundMe page shortly after the attack occurred to help pay for the mounting medical bills, travel expenses and the prosthetic eye he would later be fitted with.
“My parents and I had to extend our stay due to check ups and for medical reasons, so we stayed until May 1,” said Jonathan.
“The doctor wanted to monitor my healing for 10 days after the surgeries and remove the stitching after two weeks.
“It took about three months for the swelling to go down enough so that I could be fitted for a prosthetic eye. To have that in made me feel better because I felt like I appeared normal to strangers.
“The prosthetic eye can’t be taken out too often, but I aim to remove it every two months and I have to have it polished once a year. Then it will need completely replacing every five years.
“Putting it simply, I don’t have an eye now. I’ve lost something that I was born with and it has been challenging to adjust in so many ways.
“I’ve had to approach everyday tasks with a new perspective and change how I do them to accommodate for the loss I suffered.
“My balance is off now because of the imbalance of my vision, so walking around is a conscious effort. I also struggle to pick up and put down items and to catch now because of a lack of depth perception.
“Starting the GoFundMe was extremely helpful because it alleviated the stress of paying for medical bills, the prosthetic eye and the travel expenses. Knowing that these bills would be taken care of was a huge weight off my shoulders.
“Despite what I went through, of course I would still return to the UK because I love the country and the people there.
“I choose to focus on the people who helped me during that time and not to focus on the animal who did this to me. The UK will always be a second home to me.
“I hope people remember the importance of staying strong. Your life can change drastically and unexpectedly but don’t let that get you down. Always try to focus on the positives in your life, no matter what.”
You can donate to Jonathan’s GoFundMe page by going to: https://www.gofundme.com/jonathans-prosthetic-eye