Funds raised for the care of a rugby player left paralysed are being channelled to charitable causes following his death, with a respite centre being opened in his native Cork over the weekend.
Stuart Mangan was paralysed from the neck down in Apr 2008 as a result of a spinal injury he sustained while playing rugby with Hammersmith and Fulham RFC.
The former scrum-half never regained sensation below the neck following his accident, but those close to him said he never lost his “zest for life”.
Stuart died in Aug 2009 at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington in London after he developed pneumonia. His organs were donated as per his instructions in the event of his death.
The €1.6m raised for Stuart’s care is being donated to other projects. A five-bedroom house has been constructed adjacent to the COPE Foundation in Fermoy to provide respite for family members who need short breaks.
Construction costs were paid for by an independent trust fund which was set up to initially pay for Stuart’s huge medical bills, as he would have needed 24-hour care for the rest of his life.
Brian Mangan, father of the late Stuart, has paid tribute to the people of Fermoy for all the fundraising they carried out in the wake of his son’s accident. Mr Mangan said he was very pleased with the “high standard” of the centre which includes en-suite bedrooms and a kitchen.
A number of rugby stars were instrumental in raising funds for Stuart’s care including Ronan O’Gara, Lawrence Dallaglio, Denis Leamy and All-Black Dan Carter.
Stuart was a graduate of UCC where he obtained a law degree. He also received a masters in European business from ECS in Paris.
Prior to his death Stuart worked with researchers in a bid to achieve technological advancements in the care of paralysed people.
The Stuart Mangan Assisted Research Technology team improved Stuart’s speech using the assistance of a computer.
Although his speech was almost perfect Stuart had plans to work on a type of microphone that would have allowed him to project and control his speech volume, in a nightclub for example.
His big dream was to design a seat to prevent pressure sores, since that is the biggest challenge for people who are tetraplegic. Stuart also wanted to create a special brace so he could ride a horse again.
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