Paralyzed Man's Hardship Began When Monkey Stole Hat
American man injured while chasing monkey in Bali
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2017 8:11 AM CST
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Jeff "Swede" Swedenhjelm recovers in a hospital.   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – Friends and relatives of an American man paralyzed after falling from a roof in Indonesia have this explanation: A monkey stole his favorite hat. Jeff "Swede" Swedenhjelm had taken shelter from rain under a pavilion in Bali on Dec. 18 when he encountered several monkeys, one of which plucked a Pittsburgh Steelers hat from his head, reports People. "If you know him, he ain't just gonna give that thing up," says a friend, adding the 40-year-old Bali resident later admitted to climbing to the top of a three-story pavilion in the hope of getting it back. "He was trying to get the monkey to just drop it and run away," the friend says. "That's the last memory he had." Swedenhjelm, who fell 33 feet from the roof, awoke from a medically-induced coma to find he was paralyzed from the chest down.

He's since been taken to a hospital in Malaysia where doctors hope he'll make a full recovery. He's undergone several surgeries to repair damage to his spinal cord and was able to sit up Thursday for the first time since the fall, according to a GoFundMe page. "He's been very strong and very optimistic so we're feeling really good that he'll be able to walk again if he just gets the rehab that he needs," his daughter, Lyric, tells People. "He really understands that the way that he got into this mess is honestly pretty silly" and "he really just says that he's gonna be back on his feet soon." She tells the Northwest Florida Daily News that her father—who moved to Bali from Destin, Fla., several years ago—has no medical insurance and no money. Nearly $80,000 has been raised for his recovery. (Scientists got paralyzed monkeys to walk again.)

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