Fundraiser: Derry woman who has lost sight and speech due to FND seeks specialist help

A fundraiser has been launched to pay for treatment for a young Derry woman who suffers an average of 10 seizures per day.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 11:06 am
Nicole and Ciaran on their wedding day.

A fundraiser has been launched to pay for treatment for a young Derry woman who suffers an average of 10 seizures per day.

Nicole McDermott was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) almost five years ago.

The 28-year-old, who is married to Burt man Ciaran McDermott, has found that her symptoms have hugely deteriorated since December last year.

Nicole and Ciaran pictured before her symptoms deteriorated.

Along with the seizures, Nicole has also lost her sight, has limited speech, experiences absences, tremors and is in chronic pain. She is also now a wheelchair user and her family say she has lost her independence and quality of life.

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.

Ciaran, who married Nicole in January 2020, told the Journal how her symptoms are getting progressively worse.

He and Nicole’s family, including her parents, who also live in Burt, are continually trying to seek help for Nicole, but as a it is a relatively new disease, this is not widely available.

Nicole and Ciaran McDermott.

However, Brain and Mind in London specialise in Neurological Neurology,Neuropsychiatry and Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Therapies. Professor Mark Edwards, a neurologist who specialises in FND, has agreed to assess Nicole in his clinic in London privately.

Nicole will receive an assessment, followed by a Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help pay for the cost of this, as well as travel costs and accommodation for Nicole and those who will travel with her.

“It has an initial target of £15,000 but it is not yet known how much money will be needed.

Over £5,000 has been raised in the last two days and Ciaran said he and Nicole are ‘delighted and so grateful’ for the support so far.

Ciaran, who has given up work to care for Nicole full-time, told how she worked as a cleaner in a nursing home before her diagnosis and was ‘so bubbly and chatty.’

While she has battled with FND for almost five years, it has ‘got very bad since December.’ “She lost her sight and her speech went and she has no mobility at all.

“It’s really tough. Her sight more or less went overnight. It became blurry and then just went on her. She had a bit of speech but non -existent at the moment. It would only be me who knows what she’s trying to say.”

Ciaran said that Nicole will know that she wants to move, but her brain ‘isn’t sending the signal.’ “She could have about 10 seizures a day. It varies but she has maybe 10 or more a day.”

Professor Edwards, said Ciaran, ‘will be able to see why certain things are happening and get a plan for rehab. We won’t know anything about how long it will take until we get the initial assessment and find out the plan of attack.’”

Nicole and her family are grateful for any donation. You can donate at www.gofundme.com/f/nicole-mc-dermott