Builders travel to Athea to give little Shane (4) a hand building his vital new extension

Stephen Fernane

A Limerick couple whose son was born with cerebral palsy at University Hospital Kerry four years ago are delighted that work has finally started on a new extension to the family home that will make life a little easier for Shane.

Richard and Caroline Enright were only recently granted the maximum €30,000 under the Housing Adaptation Grant, having initially been awarded only half this amount.

However, the estimated cost of refurbishing the home to improve Shane's quality of life is between €75,000 and €80,000. The couple are extremely grateful to the public for their support as people from all over Kerry and Limerick donated to the 'Space for Shane' fund.

So far the family has raised €17,000 but still need around €25,000 more. "It was a fantastic and emotional day for us when the work started. We want to do our best by our son, and we want to keep it positive," Richard said.

Last Saturday a group of builders from north Kerry arrived at the family home in Athea to lend a helping hand.  Richard said the people of Kerry have been fantastic, with people writing letters of support since the campaign started.

This Friday in Listowel a bucket collection takes place from 9am to 6pm (volunteers are needed), while Stream Side Stables in Moyvane is also organising a fundraising event on September 2.

 "Parents of children with disabilities should not have to raise money for what are basic quality of life needs. We have people coming on board with us all the time, and we appreciate that. We hope to organise a series of events in the coming months.  It's a struggle, but you have to keep the positive side out. We're just an ordinary family, and we're putting our whole life out there, which isn't easy. Shane has medical needs, and the way he was living was extremely hard on him."

Shane was born with a hole in his heart and multiple cysts on his brain.  He currently sleeps at night with his mother in a cramped 10x10 box room containing all of his medical equipment. An occupational therapy assessment stated that Shane needs a bathroom with a hoist; a wet room and storage room for his medical facilities. For more details check out the Space for Shane Facebook page.