Gerardine Fitzpatrick with her nephew Padraig Cahill, nieces Aisling and Roisín Cahill, daughter Meadhbh Hayes and family friend Eileen O’Keeffe.

On Sunday 20th October the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) organised their annual abseil in Croke Park, Dublin. Over 80 people participated in the abseil.
All with one mission in mind – to bring awareness to the general public and also to stand in solidarity with their loved ones who have been affected or suffer from Motor Neurone Disease.
Ballingarry native, Gerardine Fitzpatrick Hayes (now living in Ownahincha, West Cork) was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease on 24th November, 2017. Gerard-ine grew up on a dairy farm in Ballingarry, West Limerick. She worked as a medical representative in the pharmaceutical industry but had to retire two years ago following a diagnosis from this terrible and fatal disease.
Motor Neurone Disease affects everybody differently but usually the disease will result in a loss of independence. Everyday things, that we take for granted like walking, talking and eating may become virtually impossible. This disease has a devastating effect on the person diagnosed, and on their families and friends. The journey with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a series of losses whereby the nerves going into muscles are no longer active and the muscles waste away.
The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) is the only organisation of its kind in Ireland. It provides vital care and support to families living with this condition. The IMNDA aims to alleviate frustration, fear and anxiety that is often felt by the whole family.
Motor Neurone Disease was described by the Sports Broadcaster Colm Murray, formerly of RTE as the ‘PITS’ – Progressive, Incurable and Terminal.
To provide these essential services the IMNDA depends heavily on events such as the ABSEIL to make their work possible. Fundraising and donations provide over 83% of their income.
On 20th October of this year Gerardine’s daughter Meadhbh, her nieces Aisling and Roisin Cahill and nephew Padraig Cahill from Knockaderry, together with family friend Eileen O’Keeffe from Ballingarry abseiled 100ft off Croke Park.
Response for this worthwhile cause was very encouraging from friends, neighbours and the wider community. The Fitzpatrick and Cahill families are indebted to all and wish to say a huge thank you to all who very kindly sent donations to help with the fundraising. If people are still interested in supporting the Irish Motor Neurone Disease fundraising venture, they can forward their donations to Gerardine’s sister, Margaret Cahill (087-7461077). Final figure for the Abseil fundraiser will be published on all local newspapers.