Loretto's Story of MND - IMNDA

Loretto’s Story of MND

June 4th, 2015

9 200x300MND Global Awareness Day 21st June

We have just launched our National Awareness Campaign in the run up to ‘MND Global Awareness Day’ 21st June. One of our clients Loretto Dempsey who shares her story of MND, will feature on an infomercial on National Radio which will be aired from the 8th – 21st June along with a poster campaign on Dublin Bus from the 5th -19th June.

Loretto has bravely agreed to get involved with our new radio campaign for 2015 to help raise awareness of the condition.

We want to share with people the real life impact of MND.  The radio advert will convey the emotional and physical reality of receiving a diagnosis of MND. It tells the real life story of Loretto and her own personal experience of MND.

As well as a media awareness campaign this will also be a fundraising opportunity for the association and we will be asking people to either organise a ‘Drink Tea for MND’ event in their local areas on or around the 21st June or  we are asking people to Text MND to 50300 to make a €2 donation. (Some network providers charge VAT, meaning a minimum of €1.63 will go to IMNDA. Service Provider LIKECHARITY 0766805278)

To find out how to organise your Drink Tea for MND event please click here!

IMNDA Tea Day 3 300x200

Here is Loretto’s own Story of her Journey with MND:

It all started when I couldn’t move the fingers on my left hand. I let it go for a couple of months thinking it was a trapped nerve. I found I couldn’t lift heavy objects; things that I could usually lift became a problem, even a shopping bag. I kept dropping things. Going up stairs became very difficult for me.  I thought that it was just because I was reaching middle-age. My fingers would freeze for only for a couple of seconds. My muscles would twitch.  I went to the doctor she sent me for tests which were all clear so she then sent me to a neurologist in the Mater hospital. I was diagnosed with MND last March. 

Overtime my limbs got weaker. I now spend 99% of the time in a wheelchair and I don’t have much use of my hands.  I can still type with a couple of fingers which is great because that means that I can still work. I work on the IT help desk in Arthur Cox. I told them when I was first diagnosed and they have been incredibly good to me. They pay for taxis to bring me to and from work; they paid to put a stair lift to my house. I have voice recognition on my PC which I’m sure the others in the office find distracting but they are too polite to say so. They’ve taken down walls and put in sliding doors into my office. If they were not so good to me I wouldn’t still be working. Every week they ask me if there is anything they can do for me. I never imagined that they could be so considerate and kind to me. And I will always be grateful to them for making my last few months working so pleasant. I think it’s important to work because it allows me get of the house for a few hours every day. Let’s me interact with people and it gives my parents a break. 

I feel I have deteriorated quite quickly but I know that this disease affects everybody differently so I don’t have anybody  to compare myself to  but I just know that in March last year, the week  before I was diagnosed I was in London for a weekend.  I walked around London, up and down the stairs of the tube but within a couple months walking long distances and climbing stairs were completely out of the question. Physically the thing I worry most about is my breathing I know 90% of MND patients die from breathing difficulties and my breathing has deteriorated quite quickly since last October.  I am using a BiPap Machine at night. I find it a little bit difficult but I have to use it. Every time you face a new challenge you find a way to deal with it. Weather it is getting your Dad to hold the hairdryer and point it in your direction or asking your mother to put on your makeup. Sometimes I think it is unfair that as well as dying young you have to waste away slowly.   

Mentally I’m quite relaxed about my diagnosis, I always was. When I was waiting on my appointment I wondered if it could be something serious so I googled the symptoms and it kept coming back to MND.  So you think maybe I have it but you don’t think that you do have it until it is confirmed.  After the diagnosis was confirmed my family were devastated.  We’ve always been a very close family that has talked a lot about everything so it helped to know I was not alone and I had the best support I could wish for. I believe that every family has some cross to bear and this is our cross. We are very lucky as a family, we’ve been very happy, we never wanted for anything. We’ve had some sad times but we’ve been able to get through them with the help of each other.

People ask me how I am and I say I’m great because I do feel great. I am the same person I always was I just know that I will be dead in a couple of years. Everyone has to die of something and if I had a heart attack I would be gone already. Just because I can’t physically do things doesn’t mean I can’t do the things I enjoy doing.  I don’t think I am reacting any differently from other people. No one knows how they will react. You can’t say “Actually I don’t want MND. I want to give back thanks, I kept the receipt”. So you have to get on with it and deal with the challenges it gives you. It’s like the old saying what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and you are not going to be sent anything you can’t handle. 

I don’t really think about dying. I think about my parents and how they will cope after I am gone. They are very fit and healthy which is great for me to because they have to do everything for me and I hope looking after me doesn’t wear them out too much. I think about my niece and nephew and how I hope they will remember me. I want them to miss me. If one day they have children I want them to tell those children about me. I know it’s really really easy to forget about people. 

The IMNDA is really good about giving you tools, advice and equipment to help you cope with the disease. Electric wheelchairs, hoists, eye gaze for the computer and even an arm attached to the table  so you can feed yourself rather than having  somebody feed you, these all help to improve your quality of life and to keep you as independent as possible for as long as possible.

My niece once asked me if I had any regrets. I told her the only regret I had was spending so much money on anti-ageing cream. I don’t have a bucket list. All my life I’ve done everything I wanted to do. I have travelled all over the world. When you are terminally ill you don’t worry about things that you used to worry about. You don’t think about money, you don’t think about having a nice car. All I want to do is to spend quality time with family and friends. I am very grateful for the friends I have. They have made great efforts to spend time with me.

Thanks to Loretto for agreeing to take part in our national awareness campaign in June to mark MND Global Day 21st June.

So remember for more information or to hold a tea day – click here or if you would like to make a €2 donation towards the campaign, Text MND to 50300 (Some network providers charge VAT, meaning a minimum of €1.63 will go to IMNDA. Service Provider LIKECHARITY 0766805278)

TEXT MND to 50300 for a €2 Donation

Once again, thank you for your support.

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