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Alan seeks help from China to battle disease

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 Murphy

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 Murphy

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 much.

"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.

mary.magee@jpress.co.uk

Ulster Star
05/09/2008