Justine Boyle Cherrie
A Gofundme page has been set up to help a Dundalk woman raise urgent funds to send her to a top rehabilitation facility in Sheffield in the UK to get treatment.
Justine Boyle Cherrie from Glenwood was diagnosed with Functional neurological disorder (FND) in May 2018.
FND is a condition in which people experience neurological symptoms such as weakness, movement disorders, sensory symptoms and blackouts.
The brain of a patient with functional neurological symptom disorder is structurally normal, but functions incorrectly. The brain does not send correct signals to the body in order to perform basic functions.
Justine, who is the wife of former Dundalk FC goalkeeper Peter Cherrie, would need to spend several months at the centre in Sheffield to "retrain her brain" by unlearning abnormal and dysfunctional movement patterns that have developed and relearning normal movement.
A piece, written by her friends on the GoFundme page detailed Justine's plight:
She started January of 2018 newly married, found a new home in her native town Dundalk. Life was good, very busy but that was the way Justine liked it. Her husband Peter Cherrie had taken a new job over 350km away playing for Cork City FC. She was enjoying her work as a Special Needs Assistant in Dublin and going to college. Every day a was a new challenge in Justine's line of work. Justine had a hectic lifestyle driving up and down the country to watch her husband play football.
She was in work one morning, felt confused, not able to think logically how to complete a task in which she had done on a daily basis. Her speech started to slur, she wasn't able to walk properly, she thought she was going to collapse and didn't feel "normal". An ambulance arrived and took her to hospital on a stretcher. They thought she was taking a stroke. She was feeling more and more confused as time went on. She couldn't remember very basic things. When Justine arrived at hospital she was taken into the resuscitation department. Various tests had been carried out such as a ct scan and MRI. Nothing was visible on those tests so the doctors decided to let her go home, although she still was not able to walk properly.
Symptoms such as weakness and pins and needles kept persisting while she was at home the following few days. Justine was back in and out of hospital getting more tests done.
A week later she had taken a seizure, she lost her speech and none of her limbs were working. She was taken into hospital where they diagnosed her after 13 hours with FND. We were all thinking was what is this? Justine's family had been told to find information on a website. She was trapped in a body that was unable to move or communicate with any of us. It was very scary for all of us. We were thinking will she ever speak again? Will she ever walk again?
She had a multidisciplinary team helping her with her rehabilitation. She had been in a wheelchair when she was first diagnosed and needed assistance with basic tasks such as feeding and daily hygiene routines. Justine learned how to walk and talk again while in hospital. She pushed herself everyday to get better. She was told she would recover quickly and return to work within a couple of months.
However this wasn't what happened. Justine's speech totally recovered, her upper body got a little bit stronger but she struggles with her legs on a daily basis. She also hasn't been able to return to work. Her symptoms are very variable. She also started seizures which was new for Justine. This is a different life now for Justine and her family. She constantly needs the support of some one and is unable to lead an independent lifestyle. She is also unable drive at present.
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