‘I can’t even chop a vegetable due to ravages of motor neurone disease’

A 33-year-old father-of-two who helped build his family home a matter of months ago, can now barely chop a vegetable due to the ravages of motor neurone disease.

‘I can’t even chop a vegetable due to ravages of motor neurone disease’

Andrew Brennan from Mullagh in Cavan, who knows he now has only a few years to live, has put himself forward to be the face of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association’s awareness campaign encouraging people to get involved in the charity’s annual fundraiser ‘Drink Tea for MND’ on June 21.

“It was only when I was told that my life expectancy was just another three to five years that I felt like I was hit by a sledge hammer,” he said. “My youngest daughter was just 5 months old. My eldest was 19 months old. I am unlikely to see them become teenagers.”

Motor neurone disease is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord.

It means messages gradually stop reaching muscles which leads to weakness and wasting.

MND can affect how a person walks, talks, eats, drinks, and breathes.

Its cause is not known and the disease strikes people of all ages.

Currently, there is no cure although symptoms can be managed to help a sufferer achieve the best possible quality of life.

Andrew and his wife Yvonne recently renovated an old derelict schoolhouse into a family home. Andrew was there every day helping the builders.

Now they are building an extension for the day quite soon when Andrew can no longer go upstairs to use the bathroom or say goodnight to his children in their bedrooms.

“I’d love to go out and help the lads lift and lay the bricks, but I can’t even chop a vegetable. Now I just hold my cup of tea and watch them, but soon even that will be too hard,” he said.

Anxious to share his story about his terminal disease, he features in a series of advertising campaigns for the charity in the hope greater awareness will generate increased support for those living with the degenerative condition.

The IMNDA provides specialised services for people affected by the disease such as equipment on loan, financial assistance towards home help, advice and home visits by three MND Nurses.

However, in order to provide the vital services it depends heavily on the generosity of the public and supporters of the association who generate over 86% of its income.

It is asking members of the public who can’t organise a tea day on June 21 to make a small donation by texting MND to 50300 and donating €2.

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