The Ray Kennedy Ray of Hope Appeal
The Ray of Hope Appeal was launched on 21st January 2008. It was the aim of the trustees to raise enough funds to purchase essential equipment and services for Ray Kennedy who is struggling with Parkinson's Disease. Ray's illness has deprived him not only of his health but of his livelihood. He was robbed of the chance to make a living through the media or coaching - a shame given that he has won everything in the game and would assumedly know more than a few people who occupy those roles today.
Ray Kennedy is essentially a private man who would not like to complain about his condition or the turn his life has made since his diagnosis. Liverpool and Arsenal fans who know him of old would not be surprised by this as Ray's demeanour has always been that of a dignified and stoical man. The only downside of this is that he has shrunk from public view since his testimonial in 1991 which has left him forgotten by many. The Ray of Hope Appeal is therefore delighted that he and his magnificent ability has become a topic of conversation throughout the land again.
The trustees of the Appeal deliberately chose not to set a target for monies raised as we don't see any figure as failure. We needn't have worried. We have been astonished at the generous donations that have come in from all over the world. So far the Appeal has raised £21,000 (April 2008). Added to that is a promise from the Professional Footballers Association that they will pay a figure of £5,000 to any work or purchases that Ray needs.
The Ray of Hope Appeal saw its official launch on 23rd February 2008 at the Paisley Suite at Anfield. Many came along in support including celebrities and past players. The night raised a staggering £10,000 - something that could not have happened without the help of John Mackin, Kevin Sampson and Bob from Retro Reds. Two representatives from the Parkinson's Disease Society attended, as part of our agreement, we gave them a cheque for 10% of the fund. Let us not forget that the Appeal plans to help ALL who suffer from Parkinson's Disease, not just Ray.
We had no idea that the appeal would receive such a high level of media coverage but, then again, people want to help Ray so maybe we shouldn't have been so surprised. Brian Reade from the Daily Mirror got the ball rolling. Subsequently, the appeal has appeared on TV, radio and print. See the Mediasection for details of all the media exposure.