Strictly dancers raise €95,000 to help get Matt on his feet

by Rose Barrett
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Matt Murphy

Matt Murphy from Skerries was overwhelmed recently when €95, 000 was raised via a dance competition to get him back on his feet.

Matt who is approaching his 28th birthday has had somewhat of a roller coaster ride over the past two years.  Renowned for his sense of adventure, and dynamic personality, Matt suffered a serious spinal-cord injury in Mexico in summer 2021 during a boat tour off the coast of Cancun when he hit a shallow sandbank while diving.

Matt Murphy
Matt before his diving accident in Summer 2021

This fractured his C5 vertebrae and rendered him immobile. It’s been a long two years since, but he has been making steady progress and with the financial support of fundraisers initiated by close friends, he has been able to access and afford various treatments.

More recently an amazing fundraiser at CityNorth Hotel raised €95,000 for further assessments and treatment. ‘Strictly Mathew Murphy’ saw 17 couples compete in an exhaustive dance competition co-hosted by Fundraising Events Group, in association with Strictly Dance Fundraiser and Move Me Ireland.

Liam Quinn Hegarty, a friend of Matt’s, undertook a Tango version of ‘I’m a survivor’ by Destiny’s Child. Dancing with Rachel Sherman, Liam says they practised for six weeks with instructors and did four sessions during the week coming up to the event. “I discovered muscles I didn’t even know I had,” said Liam who praised all the dancers, supporters and sponsors who helped to make the night a great success.

 Following Matt’s diving accident in 2021, Liam along with Matt’s sister Sarah Murphy and close pal, Paddy MacGabhann, the trio set up a GoFundMe platform. Matt underwent an emergency corpectomy spinal surgery in Mexico so his spinal cord is still intact and he thoroughly enjoyed the recent colourful dance extravaganza at CityNorth Hotel.

“Monies raised from our original GFM campaign took him to Belguim and to Utah for various treatments in recent years,” said Liam along with recently purchasing a new wheelchair.

Matt lives at home in Skerries with parents Alice and Mick and sister Lynn. His family adapted the layout to accommodate Matt’s wheelchair.

“He is hoping undergo more clinical trials, but the next stage will be to do intensive rehab,” said Liam. “He will be going to London to meet with a specialist physio based in Texas, who will be hosting the boot camp in London. The goal would be to get Matt assessed and hopefully he can go over to the clinic in Texas.”

Again, on behalf of Matt and the organisers, Liam acknowledged the wonderful support for the Strictly Mathew Murphy fundraiser, which was won by Christine Barnes and James Downes for their sizzling salsa to Bruno Mars’ ‘Uptown Funk’.

Liam noted Matt is a fighter and albeit progress is slow, he and his family and large circle of friends have never given up hope that he will eventually get back on his feet.

You can still donate to All donations appreciated!”

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