'You helped us to survive this tragedy': Mother of paralysed Italian man thanks Ireland for 20 years of support

Simonetta and Guido Nasi with Bernadette Kelly, who read Simonetta's letter.

The mother of an Italian man who was left paralysed following an unprovoked attack in Dublin in 1999 has thanked the people of Ireland for helping her family over the past 20 years.

Guido Nasi was left paralysed at 17 after an unprovoked attack in Dublin while visiting from Italy. His physical injuries have left him requiring round-the-clock care.

He is partially-sighted and unable to walk or feed himself. Now 36, he recently moved to a care home in Turin.

James Osbourne, from East Wall, Dublin, was jailed over the attack in 2001. He was released in 2008.

Guido, who appeared on last night's Late Late Show with his mother, will be received by President Michael D Higgins at a special reception in Áras an Uachtaráin on Monday.

Guido Nasi
Guido Nasi

In a letter which was read out by Bernadette Kelly, a former victim support volunteer and long-time friend of the Nasi family, 76-year-old Simonetta said she believed it was her last chance to thank the Irish public for their support as she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February last year.

She said Ireland and its citizens were "wonderful" and said the Nasi family "felt a great big hug" from the nation.

"I'm here in Dublin this weekend because I want to thank you and show you how I have thought of you during these years. I am taking this opportunity as it may be the last time I have to do so because of my own illness," Simonetta said.

Simonetta Nasi
Simonetta Nasi

"I do not think about why this happened. I just think about how can I help Guido to accept his new condition with all of his dreams still alive in his head as they were on the night of July 30, 1999."

She said the support her family received from Ireland is the reason they survived after Guido's attack.

"It's not easy. It's difficult to plan a future when it is so completely different from what you had imagined.

"The reason you are all so important is that you helped us to survive this tragedy, to accept life, to help Guido to believe in his remaining capacity."

Simonetta said she is grateful for the solidarity and help they found here, adding that her experience of the country has been "a pleasure".

There are no words to show our gratitude to the people of Ireland for what you have done. Since the day of the attack, this country has shown us great solidarity in helping us. We felt a great big hug from young and old.

"We will never forget the help we received from victim support and from all the staff and volunteers and Irish Tourist Assistance Service.

"Thank you all for everything. It has been a pleasure knowing such a wonderful country."

Viewers were touched by Simonetta's "beautifully non-judgmental" words, with many taking to social media to praise her "dignity and generosity of spirit" and describe Guido as "an inspiration".

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