Couple praise ‘amazing’ Derry & Donegal support as Nicole’s treatment to begin in England

A young Derry woman who has lost her sight, speech and mobility due to Functional Neurological Disorder has travelled to a specialist clinic in England after a mammoth fundraising effort to get her there.

Nicole McDermott (29) was diagnosed with FND over five years ago and, along with the loss of her sight and speech, also experiences multiple seizures per day, tremors and chronic pain and is a wheelchair user.

FND is a medical condition where there is a problem with the functioning of the nervous system and how the brain or body sends or receives signals.

In September last year, Nicole’s family, including her husband Ciaran, who is originally from Burt, launched a fundraising campaign with the aim of seeking specialist treatment overseen by Professor Mark Edwards, a neurologist who specialises in FND.

Nicole and Ciaran Dermott.

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After thousands of pounds were raised, Nicole and Ciaran this week travelled to the PJ Care Centre in Peterborough, a leading provider of specialist neurological care and neuro rehabilitation. Speaking to the Journal, Ciaran said that while the journey to Peterborough was tough on Nicole, they are both delighted and relieved.

“She was very tired and sore when she got here, but she’s delighted to finally be here,” he said.

Nicole will remain at and live in the clinic for at least 12 weeks.

Ciaran will stay at the clinic with Nicole for a week or two until she settles in and will then stay elsewhere in Peterborough, travelling to and from the clinic.

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Nicole and Ciaran McDermott pictured before her condition deteriorated.

Nicole is currently undergoing assessment while the clinic’s team create a treatment plan that will include intense rehabilitation such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

The end goal is to ensure Nicole has a ‘much better quality of life’.

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“It’s amazing - it’s beyond what we ever expected. It has given us a really big boost. The way things were, after Covid and with prices rising etc, it’s amazing to have that support.”

As the treatment plan for Nicole is still being decided, she and Ciaran do not know how much the final cost will be. Therefore, fundraising is still ongoing.

This weekend, Nicole’s father, Phonsie, is running a Big Fundraising Day at Manorcunningham on Sunday, August 14. It begins at 12noon with stockcar racing for all sizes of cars and they are welcoming Omagh Stockcar Club.There will be trophies and spot prizes. The racing will be followed by diffin at 3pm and then a demolition derby in the evening.

A charity night is also taking place and a number of other events in Inishowen and Derry will also be held in the coming weeks.

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Ciaran expressed his gratitude to all who have donated and supported the fundraising so far.

“We are so grateful. It has been difficult waiting to get the go ahead to come here, but we’re so relieved to be at the clinic now.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has donated and helped so far. Being able to come to the clinic is the first big step in Nicole getting a better quality of life and a big step in the right direction.”

You can donate by searching for Nicole McDermott at www.gofundme.com

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The link is: www.gofundme.com/f/nicole-mc-dermott?utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR0R3H4uiOBpoS5DCMlFIDlHl7GrQOTngdXlnLp5rm-iDuxCh024vcUuF5AYou can follow Nicole’s journey on Facebook at ‘Nicole McDermott Go Fund Me.’