By Rose Barrett
A year ago, Darren Carey was a busy man approaching 50 and working as a courier for the pharmaceutical industry. Family life, work, a love of darts and Man United also kept him occupied.
Living in Blanchardstown with wife Esther and daughters Leanne and Megan, he is renowned for his Dublin wit and wicked sense of humour. However, life quickly turned on its head over the past year.
“Dad was complaining about a weakening in his hand grip in late 2019,” his daughter Amanda told Dublin Gazette. “He couldn’t enjoy the darts properly, and then he felt weak in the legs and was beginning to feel unable to carry out his courier work.”
The family thought it was arthritis but nothing prepared them for an August diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease.
Amanda said: “Dad was diagnosed with Amyotrothic Lateral Scholiosis (ALS) which attacks upper and lower neurones. It’s very progressive and will affect his swallow mechanism and speech, with a lifespan of one to five years.
“The family home in Blanchardstown is a typical three-bed terraced house. It’s getting hard for Dad to get up the stairs; we need to convert downstairs into a larger living accommodation for Dad, who is currently awaiting an appointment to be fitted for an electric wheelchair.
“He needs a bedroom and wet room downstairs and our only option is to extend out into the little back garden. We want Dad to live out the rest of his life as comfortable as possible. Mam does everything with him, she is now his full-time carer.
“When he gets an adapted wheelchair accessible car, it will give him some freedom to get out and make memories with his family. With lockdown, he can’t get out to have a pint of Budweiser in his local, Leonard’s of Corduff.
“He is really looking forward to that, and to meeting his first grandchild in June, and also he is hoping to participate in a drugs trial later this year.
“He hasn’t lost his sense of humour, but time is against us.”
The family hopes to raise over €40,000 to adapt the house and an online appeal has so far raised almost e12,000.
“It’s still incredible to be around him and to see how the simplest of conversations or a nice sunny day makes him so happy,” said Amanda. “He really is one of the most amazing, strong and wonderful people I have ever met, our Da Darren Carey.”
See https://www.gofundme.com/f/4-ladies-a-man-fighting-mnd to donate