Jan is 42 years old. She grew up in sunny south in the picturesque Dunmore East. Her parents still run a Guesthouse in the lovely Waterford Town. She went to school locally and loved it. She was a very active student. She excelled in languages and was a proud member of her school’s debate team. She played basketball, the piano and even sang.
Throughout her early childhood and school life, Jan dreamt of becoming an astronomer and studied Science in UCD. However her love for languages never left and after completing 4 years in science she decided it was no longer for her. She then studied journalism in DIT Rathmines and from there began a very successful career in journalism. She worked for The Sunday Times for 15 years and now currently works for the RTE Guide. In 1997, she met her husband Terry at a friend’s wedding and life seemed to be complete.
One of Jan’s other loves aside from her husband Terry, is her love for music. Jan is a self-professed Gary Barlow fanatic. She followed Take That from their early days and when Gary Barlow went solo, Jan religiously followed him. It was during his first solo tour that Jan began to realise that something was wrong.
She tripped and fell at work spraining her ankle. However, after the fall she found the limp never really went away and she had to keep consciously lifting her right foot. She found she was struggling to keep up with her friends at Gary’s gigs as they followed the tour. At some of the shows her leg started to bounce uncontrollably.
In March 2013, Jan was diagnosed with MND. Soon after diagnosis she was walking with a stick, then a rollator, now a wheelchair. Her arms became very weak. Her right shoulder sometimes dislocates as the muscles are no longer strong enough to hold her arm bone in place.
“All you can do is try to cope with every challenge this illness throws at us and there are many. It is relentless. I couldn’t do it without Terry, he is my rock”, Jan Battles.