20 August 2005

Cheering response to appeal for Ryan


A Poleglass mother is thrilled at the response of the West Belfast community to an Andersonstown News appeal for a much-needed wheelchair for her six-year-old son who suffers from Brittle Bone disease. Teresa Shannon believes that the appeal has already raised as much as £2,000 in cash, cheques and pledges since a story was run in last week’s Andersonstown News about brave Ryan.

And the happy mother is so moved by the generosity of the community that she says she cries and smiles every time she receives a donation. “I can’t stop smiling,” says Teresa, “It’s great. I’ve just been tears and smiles the whole time. I can’t get over just how generous everyone has been. I’d like to thank them from the bottom of my heart and so would Ryan. He thinks that he will be getting the wheelchair for his Christmas present.”

Readers moved by the front-page article set about donating money and organising fundraising nights. The largest single sum which Teresa has received so far is £200 from a businessman based in London. Other pledges have been made.

At present three fundraising nights have been organised between September and November. The Turf Lodge Tenants’ Association (known locally as the Green-Hut Club) will host a night of music and draws to raise money on September 17. Such has the interest been that the Shannon family have already run out of ballots, and are currently organising more. The West Club on the Falls Road is hosting a fundraising night on October 13 and the Twinbrook Social Club will hold another on the November 4.

Ryan was born with the debilitating disease that will confine him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He sustains injuries from everyday incidents – the first time he crawled as a toddler, he fractured his leg. In his short life, the bubbly child has endured the pain of 49 breaks to bones in his frail body.
The new wheelchair Ryan needs is called a Permobile Koala and it can be raised and lowered, which would provide him with a new level of independence. With these features, Ryan would be able to move from the wheelchair to the settee or his bed, activities he currently needs help with.

Unfortunately the wheelchair costs a whopping £9,000 and is not available from the NHS. Teresa is hoping to raise £10,000 in total to cover future repair costs as the warranty only lasts two years and the call-out fees for repair are £80.

Donations towards a wheelchair for Ryan would be greatly appreciated and can be made by contacting Teresa Shannon at 07767428915. If the current level of fundraising continues in West Belfast, Teresa is hoping that Ryan’s Christmas wish will come true.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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