WATCH: Laois county councillor to undergo treatment for brain disease in UK

A Laois councillor has spoken frankly about his hopes for a new treatment for his Parkinsons Disease.

Cllr Noel Tuohy plans to soon go to Oxford to undergo Deep Brain Stimulation therapy. He said the problem began near the end of his 30-year career as a prison officer in Portlaoise. He was diagnosed seven years ago.

Cllr Tuohy who represents the Portlaoise Municipal District has big hopes for the DBS treatment.

"It seems to eliminate if not improve the tremor dramatically. It also demands less medication and I found the medication increases as you go along. Medication has led to other things I wouldn't have been expecting like hallucinations. 

"This has given me hope, something to live for, and I expect to have more quality time with my family.

"I'm going to die eventually the same as everybody, but I'm not going to die tomorrow. They say of Parkinsons that you die with it, not of it. The DBS is one of the most amazing things. Otherwise you'd be just getting worse and worse," Cllr Tuohy said.

"I'm one of the lucky ones. It's costing me nothing. The treatment scheme covers it because the Government can't provide the service to me in Ireland," he said.

Marie said it has given them all hope.

"I don't think any of us knew anything about DBS either and then we googled clips of it. For Noel the tremor seems to be having the greatest impact on his life. It's a constant movement. I can only imagine the wear and tear on your muscles. The amount of energy it takes. So for me and all the family we just can't wait. It can only be good. It is life changing," Marie said. 

The couple were interviewed by Laois native and long distance cold water swimmer Joan Fennelly, in support of her major charity fundraiser this year. 

Joan who is from Mountmellick and lives in Henley, UK, plans to swim the 25 mile Bristol Channel on July 22 as part of a relay team. The Henley Mermaids would be the first all female relay team to complete the difficult swim, in what is the second strongest tidal waterway in the world.

They are raising money for Irish and British charities that support people with Huntington's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Motor Neurone Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

Joan says that some of the money they raise will also be given to The Dublin Neurological Institute for data monitors for use by Parkinsons patients. 

"Please god it will have a massive impact on people like yourself in Ireland who are living with the condition day to day," Joan said to Noel during their interview. 

Noel asks people to support Joan and her swimming mates in their huge fundraiser.


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