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Brave Sam (8) travels to USA for treatment of crippling illness

A DUBLIN family are travelling to America in the hopes that a specialist will assist their young son who has a crippling disease.

Sam McMahon (8) suffers from a rare disorder of the nervous system called Friedreich's Ataxia (FA).

The Knocklyon schoolboy is affected by clumsiness, has difficulties with balance and lacks co-ordination and, as he gets older, more medical complications associated with his illness will emerge.

Sufferers of the illness are usually confined to a wheelchair within ten years of diagnosis.

Sam's parents, Brian and Caroline, decided to import medication privately for their critically ill son because the medical research facilities were not available in Ireland. TThe degenerative illness currently has no cure, but his family remain hopeful.

"Nothing is going to slow it down at this stage, but we think that it (the medication) has had a positive effect."

The crippling condition is caused by an inadequate production of a particular protein.

Celebrity chefs Nevin Maguire and Kevin Dundon have already come on board to raise funds for the Sam McMahon Trust, which was created for research.

And the 2010 King of Greystones Triathlon Charity Challenge has nominated the Trust to receive all proceeds raised on the day.

Further information is available on www.sammcmahontrust.ie.