MHS student becomes paralyzed on class trip to France

Posted Apr. 25, 2015 at 4:18 PM


On April 19, Marblehead High School senior Ben Farrar became paralyzed after jumping into shallow waters off the coast of Cannes, France on an honors exchange program. He was on a beach surrounded by friends when the accident happened. According to, Farrar anticipated deeper water and hit his head on the sand floor. He broke his C5 vertebrae and injured his spinal chord, becoming instantly paralyzed. He swallowed a lot of sea water, which damaged his lungs.

Farrar was transported to Saint Roch Hospital in Nice where he underwent surgery to try to repair his spine, and was soon joined by his family. They created a Facebook page called “Ben Farrar’s Status” to keep friends, family and the community informed. According to a post from April 24, Farrar has mucus in his lungs and he is being aided by a breathing machine while he fights to breathe on his own. The doctors put him into a deep sleep to help his body grow stronger.

The family hopes to transport Farrar to Mass General Hospital as soon as Farrar is well enough to make the journey.

A candlelight vigil will be held for Farrar on Wednesday, April 29, 7:40-8:30 p.m. at the Star of the Sea Church, 80 Atlantic Avenue, Marblehead. 

Here are some ways that you can help the Farrar family in this difficult time:

  • Donate online to The Greg Hill Foundation at by Tuesday, April 27. The Foundation will match the first $5,000 in donations.
  • Leave a donation at the National Grand Bank, 91 Pleasant St., Marblehead. Make checks payable to the Ben Farrar Fund.