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Family and community rally for Destin man's emergency medical treatment

Photo: Jeff "Swede" Swedenhjelm in a Bali hospital after suffering a near-fatal fall in Bali in December 2017 Courtesy: Lyric Swedenhjelm

A story surrounding a local man has gone viral.

Jeff Swedenhjelm is fighting for his life after a tragic fall in Bali.

Now the community is rallying trying to raise money to get him the help he needs

His daughter Lyric Swedenhjelm describes him as a free spirit and a die-hard Steelers fan-- now they are just hoping for a miracle before Christmas.

"The biggest Steelers fan that anybody could say that they have ever met," said Lyric.

Jeff Swedenhjelm decided to travel the world two years ago.

Lyric keeps up with her father's adventures through Facebook, where he's always wearing his Steeler's hat.

"It was his favorite hat. Everyone has seen it in all the pictures on Facebook-- he wanted it back," said Lyric.

His travels took him to Bali for several months, his daughter says.

In an instant, his prized possession was taken away- and his life forever changed.

Lyric told Channel 3 News, "A monkey took a hat off his head. It's a third world country so animals are running around all over the place… So he started chasing it and he got his hat, but he fell… at some point, he fell through the roof. We were told it was 10 meters high where he fell. He was unconscious when villagers found him."

Lyric says the situation is dire.

He's lost feeling from his chest down and has now developed pneumonia.

"What we figured out is that he had a fracture in his spine. It's compromising his breathing muscles. And doctors told us he needed to get surgery in the next 24-48 hours in order to repair the damage so that it wouldn't be permanent," said Swedenhjelm.

Lyric wants him back home, but the cost just to transport him back to the U.S. would be $100,000, so friends and family are in the process of getting him to a hospital in Asia so that can undergo the surgery he needs.

"What we have decided on is to get him into a hospital in Kuala, Lumpur Malaysia. So with the medical cost and the cost to get him in the door, it's $70,000," said Lyric.

Thousands of people have come forward to support her fun-loving dad, bringing more than $50,000 has been raised in just five days.


Lyric said, "He's met people all over the world and as soon as you know him he just makes an amazing impression on you. He's just your friend as soon as you have a conversation with him."

The family is hosting a bar crawl to raise money for Swedenhjelm in Destin on Tuesday.

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