Shining a light on Motor Neurone Disease in Derry

Local people who turned out to mark MND Global Awareness Day in Derry.
Local people who turned out to mark MND Global Awareness Day in Derry.

Derry and Strabane District Council’s Strand Road offices have been lit up orange and blue this week to help raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease and those living with the condition.

Jennifer Maloney, whose father Arnold Doherty (originally from Creggan but who lived in the Waterside) died from Motor Neurone Disease, and who has been raising awareness on behalf of MND Association NI, made the request to the council.

Jennifer and her family joined other local families and campaigners, including members of Team Joe, Foyle SDLP MP Mark Durkan, and MLAs Pat Ramsey and Colum Eastwood for the lights being switched on last weekend.

She said: “It was absolutely amazing that the council decided to help us mark MND Global Awareness Day, which also happened to be Father’s Day.

“Last year I helped secure the lights at Belfast City Hall being turned the MND colours and being a Derry girl I thought ‘I want Derry for next year’, so that was my motivation.”

She added: “When my father was diagnosed I had never heard of it. His first symptoms were in June 2010, he was finally diagnosed in 2012 and died in April 2014.

“It can impact on men or women of any age and there is no cause or cure. There are about 120 people across Northern Ireland with Motor Neurone Disease and several people in the North West living with it.

“We are a small charity. A lot of people would know the charity through the Ice Bucket Challenge, which started in America and then came over here. I lost my daddy last Easter and it was really poignant, while trying to come to terms with losing my daddy and then this world-wide awareness campaign which raised so much money. It really put us on the map.”