27 May 2022

Longford’s Joe Doran urges support for the Huntington's Disease Association of Ireland

Longford’s Joe Doran urges support for the Huntington's Disease Association of Ireland

Longford’s Joe Doran and his mother Pauline

With the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, Longford’s Joe Doran was unable to organise his ‘Joe Doran Awareness Walk’ at Lough Key Forest Park, but he, along with his mother Pauline, remain determined to assist the Huntington's Disease Association of Ireland and they are urging people to make a donation to HDAI, no matter how little or large.

Joe was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease (HD) sixteen years ago and following an impassioned plea to local representatives by his mother and carer, Pauline, he finally got residential care in the HD unit at Bloomfield Health Services.

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Pauline outlined, “Joe is now settled, happy, healthy and keeping as active as possible. He is well cared for and the staff lovely, friendly and very professional. This all came about thanks to the immense help and support from you, the people of Longford and further afield, right across the board who watched out for Joe over the years. With sponsorship, chats, collections, care, signatures, good wishes, smiles and everything.”

HD is an incurable genetic disease and means the brain cells are dying, resulting in a number of physical and cognitive symptoms. Physical symptoms include; impaired balance and coordination, involuntary movements, swallowing difficulties, slurred speech and impaired communication.

People of Longford were very familiar with Joe and his faithful dog, Nanooke, and they were regular participants in the parkrun and countless other local events. Pauline explained, “Unfortunately his companion, his lovely, faithful Husky dog, Nanooke died last year. She was with Joe for ten years.”

Pauline said her family, Joe's uncle and HDAI got together and bought a large polytunnel that is wheelchair accessible, with raised beds, so all in the unit can share. It will be followed by a suitable basketball set. “As you know we had no ‘Joe Doran Awareness Walk’ in Lough Key these past two years as we felt we couldn't ask people to donate funds with the country upside down and everyone struggling. Hopefully we will be back on track next year.”

Pauline has always been vocal about the need to provide more specialised residential HD care units for people like Joe, describing it as a basic fundamental right. “Joe is happy and safe. That's all I ever wanted for his future. A younger environment with HD patients like himself, with staff trained to treat that illness.”

She, however, cautioned, “There are more families out there in our local community with this thieving illness that robs them of their life long skills, their future, independence and much more.”

Pauline said she is ‘so very proud of Joe for the courage in facing his illness, wanting to help others, raising funds for different charities as well as HD and the determination to keep his independence as long as possible, as do many others with long term illnesses’.

She concluded, “I know when we need your support for young people, you will not let them down. From the bottom of my heart ‘thank you’ and may God keep you and yours safe. I’m a very grateful Mum.”

Your support can make a huge difference to people living with HD

Bank Transfer
You can transfer your donation directly to HDAI’s (Joe Doran) bank account:
Bank name : Bank of Ireland
Sort code: 90-00-92
Account number: 54757711
Please put your full name as a reference to let them know that you've donated.

Donate by Text
Text HDAI to 50300 to donate €2

Donate by Cheque
You can send a cheque made payable to The Huntington's Disease Association of Ireland and post to: HDAI, Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7, D07 RHA8

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