Irish Community Connections by Irish Community News
The Irish Pastoral Luncheon at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England
Posted on Friday, March 08, 2013 at 01:47 PM
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- World Mental Health Day, starting the conversation
- Employment rights in America
The Cara Club Ladies
All had a great time at the IPC Mass and Luncheon at the ICCNE in Canton last week. John Connors and Martin Battle of the Irish Express keep the floor full and moving all afternoon. Many thanks to them and all our great volunteers! Pat Devilly of St. Gregory’s Parish Dorchester celebrated a Birthday with us and Happy Birthday to her again! We look forward to seeing everyone at the next luncheon on March 21st, where we will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day! Please remember to call ahead on 1.855.479.2472 to reserve a spot.
February can be a dull and tough month to muddle through! As I’m writing the weather outside looks like a rough day in Connemara! I came across this article on the Irish Times website and wanted to share this inspiriting man and the power of positive thinking!
Andy was diagnosed with MND (Motor Neuron Disease/Lou Gehrigh’s disease) 30 years ago and turned 80 this month, astonishing Doctors. ‘Having lived through the two-to five-year MND life expectancy period, my survival instincts kicked in’, stated Andy, who was diagnosed in 1977.
Andy is a native of Leitrim and is Ireland’s longest living survivor of MND. He puts overcoming this limited life expectancy down a combination of faith in God, the support of friends and family and having a positive outlook.
In Andy’s own words – ‘At first, I felt really terrible then and didn’t know what to do or what was going to happen to me, but slowly it became clear that I would not be able to live my life like I had before. Bit by bit I got worse. I had to give up my occupation as a mechanical machine driver and later a car driver. I knocked everything over when eating. I was ashamed, embarrassed, frustrated, angry, bitter and infuriated as I slowly became aware of an active, alert brain imprisoned in a useless body as I lost the function of my arms and hands. But after successfully living through the prognostic time, my survival instincts kicked in and following a pilgrimage to Lourdes I felt empowered with a power greater than myself.
So I started to accept my condition. I concentrated on the abilities that I had – and realized that they were many; for example – I can still walk, talk, see, hear, taste, touch and smell. I can laugh; I can smile to brighten up someone’s day. I can love, I can write, I can enjoy fun, I can eat and I can drink – even Guinness through a straw tastes just the same. I discovered that my list of positive abilities is endless.
‘Mind over Matter’- Essentially, I believe a lot of things are down to mind over matter and I have reached the ripe old age of 80, by always trying to think positively and concentrating on my remaining abilities, not the ones I have lost. We all have abilities that we never knew we had – and technology is improving every day and has eliminated many disabilities. Most people would have said that writing the book was an impossibility for someone with a disability like mine. What could I produce with a keyboard that I could not use or with hands and arms which were rendered useless? I take great inspiration from other disabled people, for example: our Paralympic team and that little teenage girl from Cork, Joanne O’Riordan – without arms or legs – addressing the United Nations and holding the delegates in awe with her speech.
Positive thinking - I believe if you want to find initiative, courage, determination or resilience in a person – then look for someone with a disability. And my advice to anyone who has just received a diagnosis like mine, think positively and accept the way you are – always remember that life is terminal for everyone.”
Andy McGovern has been suffering from Motor Neuron Disease/Lou Gehrig’s Disease for 37 years. To celebrate his 80th birthday in February, he has just released a book called ‘Against The Odds’.’
For the article in full see: Irishtimes.com
Please feel free to call Eileen at 617 265 5300 x 13 for more information on IPC Senior Citizen Outreach Program activities and services.