MAN TO TRAVEL TO CHINA FOR HELP IN FIGHTING
MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE
by MARY MAGEE
Alan Stitt of
Ballinderry who suffers from Motor
Neurone Disease pictured with his
wife Barbara, son Graham and
daughter Samantha. US2708-114A0
Picture By: Aidan O'Reilly
A BALLINDERRY man is planning to travel to
China to undergo controversial stem cell treatment which he
hopes will help slow down the affects of the potentially fatal
condition Motor Neurone Disease.
Alan Stitt from Ashcroft Way, who was
diagnosed in March, plans to fly out to China - one of the few
countries that offers the treatment - in an effort to get a
better quality of life.
He knows it is unlikely the treatment will
cure him - but he hopes it will ease the symptoms connected with
the crippling condition that affects the nervous system. There
are currently only 95 people in Northern Ireland who suffer from
the condition. Alan's family have rallied round and are working
to raise the £10,000 needed to give him 20 days of treatment in
a Beijing hospital.
The 43-year-old former amateur footballer
first realised he was ill last July. He lost his balance and was
unable to save himself as he fell, injuring his back. Within
weeks he found walking difficult and as his condition gradually
worsened he went to see his GP.
He ended up at the City Hospital where he
underwent a series of simple tests which made him fall and was
then referred to the Royal.
By now Alan, who was a self employed kitchen
fitter, had to leave work because he broke his wrist as his
He realised the seriousness of his condition
when a nurse at the Royal rang and told him to be at the
hospital in an hour.
He was there a week during which further
tests and an MRI scan were carried out. At the end he was given
the news that changed his life.
"I had not been to the doctor's in the past
20 years," he said. When I went to the GP I asked for a doctor
who had left ten years ago and another who was away 15 years ago
-that's how often I went to the doctor!
When I was told that I had Motor Neurone
Disease I was shocked. I had not even heard of the condition and
I didn't know anyone who has the condition." Immediately his
family rallied round, determined to do anything they can to help
Stem cell treatment could give me back a
quality of life
relative discovered the stem cell treatment in a magazine
article. His wife Barbara, his uncle and sister Sandra checked
the internet for information and made plans for Alan to go to
Alan said: "I don't know how long the
treatment will last, whether it will be a month or a year, but
at least it gives me hope. I went to a Chinese herbalist who
believes I may have got this through a virus which has spread
throughout my body."
Alan continued: "I have been told not to sit
about and go out as much as I can. The cold affects my muscles
but I do try and get out... to wash the car or whatever.
"I have spoken to many people who are quite
positive about the treatment. Even doctors have said that if I
think it will help me then I should give it a go. If I, don't at
least try something my condition will just get worse and worse."
His sister Sandra Walsh says she hopes the
treatment will offer Alan a better quality of life.
"We are prepared to do whatever we can," she
said. "We have read blogs from people who have had the treatment
and its all very positive. The treatment apparently gives you a
boost but we have been warned that it helps just 8 out of ten
people. However you do not know until you try." A number of
fundraising events at Dawsons pub in Aghalee and the First Blues
have have so far raised £5,300.
Family say thanks for help
ALAN'S family would like to thank
all those who have helped in anyway with their
fundraising efforts. The would like to specially
thank Jim McFarland, Karen and Jeff Brown and Alex
Agnew. They would also like to thank staff of
Dawsons Bar and Crispy Cod in Ballinderry and
everyone else who has kindly donated money.
The family say that every penny
counts and they very much appreciate it.