Imagine not being able to say ‘I Love You’ this Valentine’s Day - IMNDA

Imagine not being able to say ‘I Love You’ this Valentine’s Day

February 2nd, 2015

Imagine not being able to say ‘I Love You’ this Valentine’s Day

Sharon Can’t

February is the month of love where couples from across the world openly celebrate their affection for each other. But imagine not being able to say ‘I Love You’ this Valentine’s Day. Most people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) can’t.  Between 80-95% of people living with MND will experience some loss of speech before they die.

Sharon Friel is 40 years old from Donabate in Co. Dublin. She was diagnosed with MND in 2012. Since her diagnosis, sadly Sharon can no longer walk and is confined to a wheelchair. She can no longer speak and communicates mainly with the use of a communication aid. She can no longer speak to her husband Conall or little 6 year old boy Senan, and say the words I love you.

“Communication is made up of words, tone and body language, I’ve lost all three. It takes all my energy to say each and every word and I end up repeating myself several times to be understood, it’s exhausting and very frustrating. I’m missing out on parenting my son, it hard to correct a child when it takes a few minutes to type your message, he just bounces away oblivious, lucky he’s such a good boy. I’m so proud of my 6 year old son, how much he accepts my disability and how he treats me normally. My husband is my rock, he does everything for us. As well as working full time he is effectively a single dad, a carer and an Irish mammy fussing over Senan and myself,” said Sharon Friel.

This February we’re asking you to take on a sponsored silence to experience what it would be like to not be able to communicate.  Stay silent for 30 minutes at work, school or even at home alone. During this time of reflection think ‘if today were the last day you could use your voice, what would you say?’ Share your last words with us on Facebook and twitter (@IMNDA) by using #Voice4MND.

All you have to do is pick a day, time and location where you will take on your sponsored silence. Sponsor cards are available from our office, just email or you can text MND to 50300 to donate €2 (100% of text goes to IMNDA across most network providers. Some providers apply VAT which means a minimum of €1.63 will go to IMNDA. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline 076 6805278), then tell us what would be the last thing you would say if you knew you would lose your voice #Voice4MND.

Nominate friends and families to join you. Sometimes silence can speak volumes. Take on our challenge today. Don’t let Sharon suffer in silence; don’t let her live without a voice.

The IMNDA provides specialised services for people affected by this debilitating disease such as equipment on loan, financial assistance towards home help, advice and home visits by MND Nurse. In order to provide these vital services the IMNDA depends heavily on the generosity of the public and supporters of the association who generate over 86% of its income.


For more information please contact Derbhla Wynne or Maeve Leahy

(01) 873 0422 email

Change your profile picture like Sharon – download our Banner and change your pic today!

 #Voice4MND Banner 


IMNDA Sharon 1


Listen to Sharon being interviewed on Newstalk with Pat Kenny here.

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