THE world’s top rugby referee will swap the oval ball for the orange one when he arrives at the Clayton Hotel, Silver Springs for an event in aid of a Glanmire basketball star later this month.
An evening with Nigel Owens will take place on November 29 with proceeds from ticket sales and a raffle going to support Glanmire ladies basketball player Ruth Kenneally’s recovery and the club itself.
Ruth and her husband, David Carroll, married in June 2016 and became pregnant shortly after. However, Ruth developed complications related to the pregnancy that resulted in a tumour behind her eye. This required urgent treatment that her medical team could not administer until their baby had been delivered.
As a result she suffered a number of strokes following the birth which left her paralysed on the left-hand side of her body and endured a lengthy period of rehabilitation care and an intensive program of aggressive physiotherapy with a greater and lesser rate of success. She now requires treatment at Manchester Neuro Therapy Centre to aid her recovery.
Chairman of Glanmire Ladies Basketball Club, Seán O’Sullivan, said Ruth grew up with her teammates at the club and was an “exceptional” player. “We were heartbroken to hear of the tribulations she has had to deal with and knew we had to do something to help get the help she needs.”
Owens will speak about his world-renowned career as a rugby referee, his LBGT activism, work as an anti-bullying advocate and his dabbles in TV presenting and performing.
He has spoken candidly about his own personal battles and in 2017 Owens presented a Panorama documentary about men and eating disorders. In it, he opened up about his own experiences with bulimia and how it has affected his life, highlighting refereeing the rugby World Cup final as a significant trigger.
At the event, he will speak candidly about issues that have dogged his adult life, from sexuality, bulimia, steroid addiction to his failed suicide attempt and his career in rugby.