THE MOTHER of three young boys diagnosed with the same terminal illness is urging the country to wear orange on May 1 to raise awareness of the condition - as she reveals she has been touched by the support they have received,
Paula Naughton said the family had been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support they had received since going public with the tragic news that their three young children Archie (8) and twins George and Isaac (3) were all diagnosed with the terminal Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) on the one day.
After spending the past year trying to digest the shattering news, Paula and Padraic Naughton are now hoping to raise awareness of the condition and fundraise in the hope of finding a cure for the illness.
"We've had hundreds of emails, posts and letters and people have phoned. I still think it is amazing that people have been thinking about us and taking the time to message and email.
"It's been really affirming – we struggled really hard about going public and asking people to help with the Trust. But the response has been so positive. I feel more than ever that the people of Ireland will help to find a treatment and a cure," said Paula.
The boys turn four on May 1 and the preschool is having all the children wear orange," she said.
"It's their favourite colour. Now the town is involved and they are putting up orange bunting and flags in all the shops.
"Now we want to turn Ireland orange. It's all about awareness."
The Join Our Boys Trust is now urging the public to wear orange on May 1 in a bid to raise awareness of the condition.
"It all started with George and Isaac's pre-school. The boys turn four on May 1 and the preschool is having all the children wear orange. It's their favourite colour. Now the town is involved and they are putting up orange bunting and flags in all the shops.
"Now we want to turn Ireland orange. We know it won't spread everywhere this year but by next year, maybe the whole country will turn orange. It's all about awareness," said Paula.
While the couple have been told that the illness will start to take its toll on the children from a young age, leaving them paralysed by the age of 12, and cutting their life expectancy to between 19 and 22, they still hold out hope that more research could crack the condition. "Despite it all, they are just ordinary boys taking it all in their stride. Archie is starting to deteriorate," said Paula.
"That's the most difficult thing, standing by and knowing you can't do anything to stop it. It's a timebomb. But he never gives in, he's tenacious," she added. For more information on the Trust go to www.joinourboys.org.