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Florida man left fighting for life after chasing monkey that stole his hat

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A former Destin man known as the life of the party and a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan is fighting for his life in a hospital on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Jeff “Swede” Swedenhjelm fell 33 feet Monday while chasing a monkey across a rooftop. The monkey had stolen his favorite Steelers cap.

Villagers found Swede and brought him to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with severe damage to his spinal cord. He currently is paralyzed from the chest down.

“Our utmost concern is to get Swede out of Bali and into a country with a spinal specialist,” said his daughter, Lyric Swedenhjelm, who is a college student.

She said the medical care in Bali is what one might expect in a third world country, and that her father didn’t even have an MRI for almost 24 hours after the accident.

Swedenhjelm is in a medically induced coma and is on a ventilator, his daughter said. He also has pneumonia.

Her father has no medical insurance and no money, Lyric said. He left Destin several years ago to work in Bali. She and her mother still live in Destin.

“He has a great team of friends that have been by his side,” she said. “He’s very popular, a social guy, always out and about organizing parties and events.”

Lyric, who turns 21 Tuesday, said traveling to Bali is very expensive and that they are trying to channel all resources into having her father flown to Singapore for better medical care.

They have started a fundraising page on GoFundMe, which already has raised more than $70,000. It will cost about $30,000 to get him to Singapore and another $30,000 to get him treatment. The goal on the page is $100,000. To donate, visit the page by CLICKING HERE.

“All I want for Christmas or my birthday is for my dad to get this surgery as soon as possible,” Lyric said.

His GoFundMe page shows him lying unconscious in a hospital bed. Under it, someone wrote what they thought the 40-year-old would say if he could.

“I am hopeful that the time we shared on this wonderful planet has given me enough love and respect in your heart to make you want to help. I have never been the one to ask for help, especially in monetary form, but any help will be taken to heart. Thank you all in advance. One Love. <3 Swede.”

(c)2017 the Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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