Reds greats jet in to raise €15k on Sean's gala night
Robbie Keane, Mick McCarthy and Kenny Dalglish walked the red carpet last night for a special gala dinner in aid of Liverpool FC fan Sean Cox.
The night before the highly anticipated charity football match at the Aviva, more than 300 guests arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel, Ballsbridge, in support of Mr Cox, who was left in a coma after he was attacked outside Anfield Stadium.
Speaking at the event, Mr Cox's wife, Martina said the support for her husband had made coping with last year's tragic event a lot easier.
"We celebrated Sean's birthday on Tuesday and, in a special and emotional way it feels like tonight is his party," she said.
"I know he'd love to be here and meet so many of his sporting and entertainment heroes.
"The last 12 months have not been easy, but what has helped get through this difficult journey has been the outpouring of support and genuine concern for Sean. For this we will always be thankful."
Ms Cox said she was sure her husband was greatly looking forward to today's match.
"I know he will be as overwhelmed and emotional as me when he experiences the crowds and watches the teams run onto the pitch," she said.
A charity auction at last night's gala dinner was expected to raise more than €15,000 for the father-of-three's rehabilitation. Some of the items on offer included a Liverpool jersey signed by Mohamed Salah, a trip to an Ireland away game in the Euro 2020 qualifiers and dinner with rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll.
Meanwhile, Mr Cox has addressed the public for the first time and offered a message of thanks to the thousands of people wishing him well.
The Sean Cox Rehabilitation Trust, a charity set up in his honour, released the video yesterday morning of Mr Cox thanking the public and giving a thumbs up.
"If you are one of the thousands who organised/attended a fundraiser to support Sean, Sean Cox has a message for you," the charity said.
Liverpool FC Legends will take on a Republic of Ireland XI Legends selection at the Aviva Stadium this afternoon to raise money for the Meath man's rehabilitation.
Kenny Dalglish will lead a star-studded Liverpool team against an Ireland side featuring a host of big names, including Robbie Keane.
Mr Cox, from Dunboyne, suffered life-changing injuries during the unprovoked vicious attack by Roma supporter Simone Mastrelli outside Anfield Stadium on April 24 last year.
Professor Mark Delargy, of the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH]) told guests at last night's dinner that Mr Cox was doing "remarkably well".
"Family and visitors will have seen Sean's recovery advance from those early weeks when nothing seemed to be happening," he said.
"His rehabilitation team has the job of helping him on the road to making the best recovery possible. Sean is moving a lot better and he is now talking a bit - enough to be able to give out. He is working away like a Trojan."
Mr Delargy added Mr Cox's recovery is dependent on the amount of speech, occupational and physical therapy he can get at the NRH.
"Recent rehabilitation research points to Sean needing as much skilled neurorehabilitation as he can manage, for as long as it is helping him - months and months of it.
"There is a significant monetary requirement to provide Sean with the long term, high quality, effective rehabilitation he will need after NRH. Tonight is another big step forward in helping fund Sean's needs."
Over the past 12 months, including the estimated proceeds from tonight's Legends game, almost €2m has been raised for the rehabilitation of Mr Cox.
These monies will be deployed by the Sean Cox Rehabilitation Trust with the objective of helping him get the care he needs and providing some quality of life for him into the future.