Widowed mum needs funds for Multiple Sclerosis therapy
A YOUNG widowed mother has made a heart-wrenching appeal for funding - after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Celine Walsh (38) from Ratoath Estate in Cabra, cares for her daughter Tori (14) alone since her husband Mark took his own life in 2004.
She is now trying to raise funds for stem cell therapy treatment, which she has described as her "last hope. Even to be able to walk a bit and have some sort of life".
Celine was diagnosed with the debilitating condition in 2001, when Tori was just a year old.
"I got a funny sensation in my hands and they did a blood test and said I had a virus.
"A couple of months later my eyes started jumping so they sent me for an MRI scan.
"A few months after that, they confirmed MS with a lumbar puncture.
"I was really positive about it in the beginning because I had my husband," she said.
But three years after the diagnosis, Mark took his own life. "I found him hanging out the back. I honestly don't know why.
"When I found him, I gave him CPR but he died the next day," she added.
Initially Celine was able to hold down a job and then she was put on the MS drug Tysabri, but in recent months her condition has been deteriorating rapidly.
"I had been taking Tysabri medication but unfortunately I contracted a virus in August of last year and could not take it any more, although it did help me while I was on it.
"I've been sick ever since I came off it," she said.
"I was told by consultants in the Mater Hospital last month that there is no further medical treatment available in Ireland to maintain or improve my health."
Celine can no longer fully use her legs. "I get around the house with the frames but now the power of my hands is starting to go."
She has a home help who comes in twice a day but she is very concerned about her daughter's future.
"She's lost her daddy and I think she thinks I will die too."
The treatment costs just over €26,000 for a 14-day hospital stay.
Her friends are holding a benefit boxing night for her in the National Stadium on September 20.
Other friends in Carmichael House - the office base for a group of charities - have also set up a bank account.
It is called the 'Cell for Celine Fund' and is at the EBS in the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.
The account number is 45563276.