VINCENT HUNT knows more than most how vital a respite centre will be -- he was diagnosed with MS in 1996.
He first developed symptoms of the disease in 1994.
After several hospital visits and a series of tests he eventually got a definite diagnosis two years later.
He visited the MS North West Therapy Centre in Ballytivnan and says this was a major help in coming to terms with MS.
Different treatments at the centre help him keep his MS under control, enabling him to lead a full and active lifestyle.
In many respects the Ballytivnan centre became his "second home".
Vincent became chairpman of the Fundraising Committee for the new respite centre at Woodhaven in 2008.
He said: "It will be a great facility. What will be particularly pleasing is it be the first of its kind outside of Dublin." Vincent is confident the €400,000 needed to fully kit out Woodhaven can be raised. He says: "I'm optimistic we'll reach our goal.
"It won't be easy but we've already done several fundraising initiatives to date.
"Friday's sod turning ceremony shows people the amount of progress that has been made. "I'm confident we can meet our autumn 2013 deadline." MS is the most common disabling neurological condition of young adults, affecting approximately 6,000 people in Ireland.
It's a chronic condition of the central nervous system, and the most common age of diagnosis is late 20s to mid 30s.