In January, Paul Lannon and Jan Battles, both of whom have Motor Neurone Disease (MND) recorded Radio Adverts to raise awareness of this disease and to try draw people’s attention to the difficulties they face every day.
“Just because my arms don’t move, just because I have MND doesn’t mean I’m not the same person,” Paul Lannon
Paul is 43 years old. He was born and reared in Ballyhale, Co. Kilkenny. When he was 8, his father sold his engineering business and bought a pub in the nearby village of Knocktopher. The pub was called Lannon’s but became known locally as Dickey’s, as Paul’s fathers name was Richard. Paul loved playing hurling and played right through primary school and secondary school with his local club ‘Ballyhale Shamrocks’. Paul loved school but for reason’s other than study. A bright lad he drove his teachers demented. In secondary school there were 18 girls in his class and only 2 boys. Needless to say his head wasn’t in the books.
Ever since Paul was old enough he worked in the pub. He started out clearing tables and then he became a regular sight, pulling pints and lifting kegs. When he finished school he started working in the pub fulltime. At the age of 21, Paul left Ireland to chase his fortune in England. He managed a bar in Shepperton in Middlesex for 2 years. He then took a career turn and headed to Germany where he worked in construction. He then returned to the UK to work as a fork lift driver.
In 1995, Paul’s father passed away and he became homesick and longed to return to Ireland. Luckily the company he was working for were setting up a manufacturing plant in Drogheda at the time and Paul was charged with looking after part of the business. He worked his way up from the floor to the office and eventually management. After years of hard work Paul was made Vice President of Operations, in his new role he had to travel all over the world, visiting places as far as China, Russia, and South America. He often jokes that the only continent he hasn’t set foot on is Africa. Even with all his jet setting Paul still found time for love and in September 2001 he married the love of his life Sandra.
Ever since he was young, Paul had a fascination with motor sport. His Father and uncle had always raced Go Karts, the pair were well known in the ‘Go Kart world’ with 15 Irish Titles between them. Paul followed their footsteps and ever since he was old enough he was racing go karts, cars, motorcycles whatever he could. He owned his first motor cycle when he was 20 and the love affair continued until 2011.
In 2010, shortly after Paul had completed the Four Peaks Challenge, he started to notice a problem with his right arm. When working on his bike, his right arm became increasingly tired and he found he was always dropping nuts and bolts. In 2011 Paul was diagnosed with MND. From once being able to lift two kegs at a time, Paul can no longer lift the kettle. Dressing himself is now impossible and he has recently started to have difficulties with his speech and swallow. Now he can no longer work and he has had to get rid of his motorbike.
In the new adverts, Paul shares his story about MND and how it affects him. He is doing this in the hope that greater awareness of this condition will lead to better support for people like him and over 300 people that are living with MND in this country today.
Listen to Paul’s Story.
100% of text cost goes to the IMNDA across most network providers, Some providers apply VAT which means the minimum amount of €1.63 will go to the IMNDA.
You can organise ‘Drink Tea for MND’ events throughout the month of June. To register your event, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Freefone 1800 403 403
You can also visit an Insomnia store near you as IMNDA collection buckets will be there throughout the month of June and on the 21st with 10c from all tea sales to be donated to this organisation that supports people with MND.