I won’t let this awful illness get me down

Alison Laird with some of the raffle prizes for her charity night.
Alison Laird with some of the raffle prizes for her charity night.

A Mossend woman suffering from a muscle wasting disease is trying to raise awareness of the condition which even her GP hadn’t heard of.

Alison Laird says she has gone from being a fit young woman to someone who struggles to walk properly or even lift her five-year-old grandson.

Determined to help find a cure and fund research into GNE myopathy, she is holding a sold-out fundraising night at the Lithuanian Club this Friday.

Alison (42), of Pollock Street, said: “I had symptoms for many years before I was finally diagnosed. My GP and the health professionals I came into contact with hadn’t heard of my condition, which is why I feel I must do everything I can to raise awareness. There must be other people undiagnosed or even misdiagnosed.”

Alison has always been very active and even worked in the fitness industry. She explained: “Gradually I began having some unusual physical symptoms. I was occasionally falling and tripping in my late 20s, which could be dismissed as clumsiness at first.

“In my early 30s I noticed my feet did not have the range of movement I once had. I was baffled by these symptoms as I knew I was in good physical condition. I started lifting weights but then noticed my weights had to be lighter as my strength was decreasing.”

After seeing her GP and a physiotherapist, Alison was referred to a neurologist and genetic testing finally confirmed her condition.

She said: “I was devastated to realise my life would change so much. I can’t run at all anymore, my walking is slow, I wear leg braces and I use a walker at times.

“I can’t manage stairs very well and my upper body strength is poor. I can’t lift my gorgeous grandson in my arms. I had a terrible fall recently which landed me in hospital.

“However, there is so much going on to find a cure for this condition. I need to help people like me to stay active, positive and have a fulfilling life.”