Sandra with her husband Paul and sons Conor and Sean
A Clonmel mother will head to Mexico for stem cell treatment for Multiple Sclerosis knowing that she has the support of the whole community behind her.
At the start of the year Sandra Connolly, her husband Paul and their two young boys Conor and Sean took a massive decision to reach out for that support.
A deadline of May 22 for payment for the operation, flights and a month long stay in Mexico was looming.
The family decided to go public and issued a plea for assistance.
“We had no idea of what was involved and had no idea of what the reacation would be. It has been an unbelievable experience to witness such an outpouring of goodwill from so many people over the last few months. I will be forever grateful to everybody who thought of me this year, the whole town just pulled together, it was amazing and thank you so much to everybody”, said Sandra.
Sanie's Trust which was set up by family and friends to help Sandra (Sanie to her friends) is to be wound up on Friday evening, June 7.
“It was an incredibly generous response. We comfortably reached our target which enabled us to meet the May 22 deadline to pay the medical costs up front and pay for the flights and accommodation. That gave us all great peace of mind and it took away all the stress of thinking about the costs involved”, said Sandra.
She explained that the idea of fundraising was first discussed when a Specsavers colleague Camile McGuire made the proposal to her when they were attending a fashion show in Hotel Minella last October for the Emma Lacey Trust.
“We gave it a lot of thought and at the start of this year decided to go for it. Everything came together very fast and people met up and it has been frantic for the last few months” said Sandra.
She said ‘a huge push’ was put on and numerous events held because of the May 22 deadline.
The timeline was short but with a committee of over fifty very active members and a wonderful support from the communities of Clonmel, Dungarvan, Omagh and even New York, Sanies Trust would prove to be an enormous success in achieving their goal.
Six years ago, Sandra was diagnosed with a very aggressive strain of Multiple Sclerosis.
Sandra has been in a wheelchair for over two years now and the disease is aggressively attacking her body.
However, Sandra has discovered a treatment for her condition, which is Stem Cell treatment and is available to her in Mexico.
She will travel to Mexico on July 19 and will stay in Mexico until August 18 at a clinic in Monterray.
Sandra is hopeful the four weeks intensive treatment will at least stop the progression of her illness and maybe, with a bit more good fortune, her MS will abate.
During ther fundraising campaign, there were over 100 events completed. Some stand out above others in size and achievement, but none must be underestimated as being a big part of the collective achievement.
“It is thanks to everybody involved in organising all those events and to everybody who attended and supported those events that I am able to go to Mexico.
“Knowing I have that fantastic support behind me drives me on”, said Sandra.
On Friday in the home of Sandra’s aunt, Sanies Trust committee completed a final committee fundraising event. People are welcome to attend.
Sandra is now looking forward to having a few weeks rest and some quality time with her family.
“It has been a very busy but enjoyable few months so I will be happy to take it easy for a few weeks before I head off to Mexico”, she adds.