Coleraine family appeal to help dad with MND

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A Coleraine family has launched an appeal to raise £25,000 after receiving “the devastating news” that their father has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia.

Stacey, Danielle and Gregory have started a GoFundMe appeal to raise the money to adapt their home for their dad William (Bill) Dunlop.

The family received the heartbreaking news in December and, to compound their distress, were also told that 58-year-old Bill has approximately 24 months to live.

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Stacey Edwards said: “To say that this floored us was an understatement. His specialist does not know if this will affect his speech or swallowing capabilities but strongly thinks it will affect his limbs which will put him in a wheelchair before long.

From left - Stacey Edwards, William Dunlop, Teresa Dunlop and Danielle SharkeyFrom left - Stacey Edwards, William Dunlop, Teresa Dunlop and Danielle Sharkey
From left - Stacey Edwards, William Dunlop, Teresa Dunlop and Danielle Sharkey

“Our dad (Bill) joined the forces in his 20s and served for over 25 years, obtaining the rank of Colour Sergeant. He met our mum in his 30s and took myself and my sister on as his own wholeheartedly. He has been the best husband to my mother, the best father to myself, Danielle and Gregory, and the best grandad to his many grandkids.

“He is receiving the best care at present from the Royal in Belfast but there is one thing we are struggling with, some big house alterations need to happen to make sure our Dad is as comfortable as he possibly can be for the time he has left, whilst maintaining his dignity and allowing him to be in his own home with his family.”

Ideally, an extension to the house to include a wet room would provide Bill with the facilities he requires but that would cost £45,000 and could take at least 18 months for grants and planning permission to be approved.

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“As you can imagine with a prognosis as short as his, we unfortunately don’t have the time to wait,” said Stacey.

“The architect has given us another alternative which would be to convert the existing living room into a bedroom for Dad and change the existing bathroom into a wet room. Then to make sure there is still somewhere we can all be together as a family, he has suggested building a conservatory onto the kitchen as the ‘new’ living room, the costs of which are about £25,000 and can be started within the next couple of months.”

So the family haved launched a GoFundMe apppeal to raise the £25,000 required. At the time of going to Press, the total raised has reached almost £6,000.

Stacey continued: “I know this is a big ask of anyone, complete strangers and friends alike. We as a family just want to be able to look after our Dad the way he has always looked after us.

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“If you can please donate, no donation is too small and will be greatly appreciated.”

To donate, go to the website GoFundMe and search for William Dunlop (Please Help our Dad with MND). Any money raised that is not used for modifications to their home will be donated to the MND Association by Bill’s family.