Family Life

Irish parents fighting to save son's life need help raising €250K

A Wicklow couple, Leslie and Lynda Martin, are appealing for the public's help after their youngest son, Ciaran, was diagnosed with metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), a genetic condition with no known cure.

The youngster has been approved to undergo medical trials in Italy that will hopefully delay the symptoms of the illness, and his mum and dad set up an iDonate campaign in a bid to raise €250,000 to cover expenses.

Heartbreakingly, Ciaran's older brother, Cathal, has the same condition but, unfortunately, the two-year-old is too advanced to avail of any treatment.

Cathal was diagnosed with MLD back in December of last year, after he had trouble walking. Unfortunately, as his disorder was diagnosed too late, Cathal was sadly given a terminal diagnosis.

And, according to the Martins, "the rate of deterioration for Cathal has been terrifyingly fast", and he now cannot feed himself, chew or swallow. He is fed through a tube and sits in a supported chair provided by Enable Ireland.

It was Cathal's diagnosis that prompted doctors to test Ciaran, and as his disorder is at an earlier stage, there is hope that he will benefit from a treatment trial currently available in Italy.

The treatment – which is partially funded – will last for six months, with the Martins hoping to start the course on March 25.

"Treatment begins with an intense Gene Therapy programme, and a course of chemotherapy, and he will require 24-hour family support and care," they explained on their fundraising page.

"Our plan is that one parent will travel to Milan with Ciaran on March 25, as he begins treatment.

“The other will stay at home to look after Cathal’s complex medical needs and also to look after our four-year-old daughter.”

If you are in a position to help, you can donate here.

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