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'I don't mind what time I have left, I just want to enjoy it' - Inspirational dad fighting Motor Neurone Disease

 

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Andrew with his wife Yvonne and their daughters Aoife and Sophie

Andrew with his wife Yvonne and their daughters Aoife and Sophie

Andrew with his wife Yvonne and their daughters Aoife and Sophie

A young dad has said that Motor Neurone Disease has robbed him off the second half of his life and the chance to see his daughters grow up.

Despite suffering from the debilitating condition, Andrew Brennan remains upbeat and is determined to make every minute with his wife Yvonne and daughter Aoife (4) and Sophie (2) count.

In January 2015 Andrew's GP noticed some muscle wastage and twitching in his right arm so he sent him for further tests in Beaumont Hospital.

Andrew, who is from Mullagh in Co Cavan, said: "I didn't think too much of it, it'd been like that for about a year and we were busy working, renovating our home and we've a young family.

"I thought maybe it was just strain or a pulled muscle.

"I went for tests five or six weeks later and I was kept in for seven nights."

Just weeks before turning 32, Andrew was given the devastating diagnosis of MND.

He told Independent.ie: "On February 26 2015 I was told I had Motor Neurone Disease, I was told there was nothing they could really do but manage it and I still didn't really get it.

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Andrew said that without Yvonne his life would be 'unbearable'

Andrew said that without Yvonne his life would be 'unbearable'

Andrew said that without Yvonne his life would be 'unbearable'

"I thought I would just need to take medicine but then she said that the outlook was that the life expectancy for someone with my condition was two to five years after diagnosis, that's when it hit home and I realised how serious it was.

"My oldest girl was just under two and my younger girl was only four months so when I heard that news all of my dreams and plans for my future with them was crushed.

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"Myself and Yvonne were only 31, we were both fully fit and healthy, I didn't feel unwell and I was still active so the only thing was just the twitching on my arm.

"You never think it will happen to you."

He said that while it's difficult to think he won't be around to see his girls grow up, he's determined to make happy memories with them and these goals keep him motivated.

"I've always said this condition will rob me off the second half of my life and I won't be around to see my girls grow up.

"I've set myself a few goals, I want to be there when they start school, I'm happy that I've made it this far and I'm hoping now we might enjoy a holiday closer to Christmas or in the new year.

"It's those little goals and targets, I don't mind what time I have left, I just want to enjoy it."

Andrew has since been forced to give up his job in newspaper printing and they have began to renovate their home and make it more accessible.

He said: "We went through a bad time at the start, I did the worst thing you could do by Googling it and I was horrified by what I found.

"My wife has had to give up her job to become my carer as walking has become more difficult and all the finer motor movements have gone in my hands.

"I rely a lot on my wife, if it wasn't for her my life would be unbearable."

Mr Brennan remains upbeat and urges people to savour their health.

He said: "I've always said to anyone I've met who has MND to never give up and to anyone who's fully fit and healthy they should enjoy every day because tomorrow it might all change.

"I certainly never believed that I would get sick."

Last year Andrew fronted the 'Drink Tea for MND' national awareness campaign for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association, which raised over €160,000 for the charity.

He's now fundraising to raise money to buy a wheelchair-accessible car for himself.

He said: "We know a wheelchair will be inevitable and we'll need to change our car, we've held events like coffee mornings and raffles.

"I went to school with a lad called Dermot Kiernan, who is going out with (former Celtic Woman singer) Chloe Agnew, they're both based in Los Angeles but he's home for a few weeks for holiday and he said he didn't want to go home without helping.

"So they've going to perform a concert with special guests in the Ardboyne Hotel in Navan, Co. Meath on July 30 to raise funds."

For more information or to donate please visit www.andrewsfightagainstmnd.com


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