lain 0'Kane, Managing Director, Xperience with Stephen Thompson, Chairman, Motor Neurone Disease Association in Northern Ireland.
A LOCAL 1T company has raised over £15,000 during a Golf Day to help the 95 Motor Neurone Disease sufferers in Northern Ireland.
Xperience, based at Knockmore Industrial Estate, held the fundraiser at Balmoral Golf Club on behalf of Sales Director Patrick Leggett, whose father Alan was a member of the Balmoral Club and sadly died from Motor Neurone Disease in May.
It was later realised that Alan was one of three golfers at Balmoral who have died from the condition. Yvonne Mullaney (69), a former Lady Captain, passed away in June after a six year struggle and Freddie Boyle, who was just 56, succumbed to the terrible effects of MND two years after his diagnosis and died in 2000.
Only one person in 100,000 and just 95 at any one time in Northern Ireland is believed to have MND.
It attacks the nerve cells responsible for muscle control and can leave sufferers unable to walk, talk, move and even breathe. Most people have between two to five years to live after diagnosis but many are known to have lived for many years with physicist Professor Stephen Hawking having been a sufferer for over 20 years.
Alan, a University lecturer, died just a year after being diagnosed. A fit and healthy man who often outwalked his sons on the golf course when MND struck his health deteriorated so badly that he was only able to communicate by blinking his eyes. "When my father was very ill we saw his quality of life deteriorate rapidly - he needed wheelchairs, his mobility was affected and also his power of speech," said Patrick.
"We saw him depend on wheelchairs and lifts. We were very lucky we were able to look after him at home and cater for him by widening doors, putting in wheelchair ramps and a downstairs wet room.
"We didn't know how aggressive it would be and unlike a stroke or heart attack when you don't get the chance to spend time or say goodbye, we were privileged that we had the luxury to do what we could for him in those last months.
"There is no known cure and it's hard to see someone who had been active
to waste away."
During his illness a team of carers, the MND Association and Marie Curie all provided help and care.
The Golf Day saw 140 players take part. The golf was followed by a raffle and auction later that evening.
"Our suppliers and customers were very good," said Patrick. We wanted to do something that not only raised money but also raised the profile of the charity. My brother, who is a doctor, had a patient walk in and donate £.1000 for the charity which was incredible. The money we raised was beyond our expectations.
"What we found humbling was many of our customers - some are big businesses and some are small traders - gave so generously even during these tough economic times We were really shocked at the response. They were all keen to make a contribution which was lovely."