In 2013 Carol Grennan, then 34 years old, was training for her first marathon when she noticed that she didn't feel right. Her legs felt heavy and eventually she had to stop running altogether. Soon after, she could no longer get out of bed. Her health was declining rapidly, now experiencing daily blackouts, and nobody could tell her what was wrong. Unable to make a diagnosis, the medics concluded that it must be psychiatric rather than physical.
In 2015, Carol tested positive for Lyme disease At last she had an answer but this was only the beginning. Having being treated for Lyme disease in Ireland for two years, Carol's symptoms improved but in 2019, the symptoms returned and took her renewed independence with them. Again, Carol began to get blackouts every few days and couldn't be left alone. On one occasion she fell down the stairs in her home and was badly shook by the incident.
Carol's husband Willie frantically searched for other Lyme disease treatments and found a clinic in Germany with the hopes that Carol could avail of treatment in April 2020 with enough money raised.
Early in 2020, Carol and Willie's family and friends organised a series of fund raisers to help raise enough funds to allow Carol travel for treatment. In March, with the biggest fund raiser just days away, covid struck, shutting down the country and the rest of the world. The clinic in Germany then also closed leaving the couple devastated.
Hope was renewed in June 2020 when Wille and Carol travelled to Cyprus, thanks to the community fund raising and a credit union loan. It wasn't all straightforward though with missing covid results from Ireland almost resulting in the couple being turned back at the airport in Cyprus. But they got sorted and Carol started her treatment in the clinic on the same day she arrived. She spent a total of 8 weeks in treatment before returning home, with each week showing massive improvements. Carol's blackouts have also reduced significantly and she recently went 30 days blackout free.
But her treatment isn't finished, and the couple had hoped that they would get their rural pub opened again and be able to save up for her second trip to Cyprus in 2021. They also didn't realise how much Carol's after care medication would cost which amounts to €600 per month. Both Carol and Willie are eternally grateful to their friends and family and the community of Killeigh, Killurin, Ferbane, Tullamore, and beyond for their kindness, generosity and support so far.
In February 2021 my running buddies and I decided to raise funds for Carol's treatment by running 100 miles every month. I have set up this Go Fund me page and I want you all to give whatever you can. You can also join our effort, and invite your friends to run/walk 100 miles (or whatever distance you're able for!) until we reach our target of €40k. Myself and John O'Connell are going to start February running 100 miles each in the month. We will be joined in March by Finian McDermott and Rodge Larkin who will both run 100 miles per month. We are welcoming everyone who wants to join us and share this page.
As Carol said herself "It's very hard to ask for help because sometimes I feel there are others worse off, but every illness is debilitating and for me, Lyme's has taken so much of my life".
Carol is a young wife and mum and she deserves to get her independence back. She has so much to give and dreams of being able to return to normal life and has vowed to pay it forward by putting on her runners again when she is well to help other people in need.
"I never thought that at 34 years of age I'd be stopped in my tracks as I was but I cannot wait til the day that I'm back to some level of fitness again" - Carol Grennan.
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