by MARY MAGEE
Alan Stitt (centre4 receives a cheque for
£3,100 from Michael Timmons and Alan Ross
with Alan's wife in the background on the
Massey Ferguson which was used in the
charity tractor run US3708-402PM Pic by Paul
BALLINDERRY man Alan Stitt is leaving for
China next week to receive controversial stem cell treatment for
his motor neurone disease.
Alan will have his first treatment on
September 11 - his 44th birthday.
Along with his wife Barbara and mother Rita
he is flying out on Tuesday, in the hope that the treatment will
offer him a healthier and longer life. He has already made
contact with one recipient of the treatment who said it had
helped strengthen his legs.
"My consultant was trying to talk me out of
going but I told him that rather than sitting down and doing
nothing and letting this thing beat me I might as well do
something and tackle it head on," said Alan.
"He said he fears it could do me more harm
than good and that the travelling will take a toll on me. But
this is my decision, no-one has talked me into it and I just
cannot do nothing about it."
Alan has been told that it could be Christmas
before he can feel any benefit from the treatment. The former
Ballymacash Rangers football player said he would love to play
his favourite sport again but accepts that would be as sing too
"I would like to play football again but I
know that would be a miracle, I am hoping that it will help
steady me up and I would be happy with that," Alan continued. "I
would like to have more strength in my arms and legs to help
with driving and I am hopeful that I will. Stem cell treatment
is going to cure someone some day, why not me?"
Alan was diagnosed just a few months ago and
has been suffering from the condition for over a year. He is on
medication and doctors are happy with his progress, though he
suffers from cramps in his hands and feet and can fall easily.
During the treatment Alan hopes to see the
site at Quing Dao which hosted the rowing events.
"I am looking forward to going to China and
seeing the sights when I can," he said. "I am not looking
forward to the treatment, and have been told that it will take
its toll on me."
Alan flies out on Tuesday and plans to return
home again on October 11.