Radio telethon aims to give Limerick’s Leon a lifeline

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Email:

nick@limerickleader.ie

Radio telethon aims to give Limerick’s Leon a lifeline

Leon O'Connor with his mother Valerie

A LOCAL radio station will today hold a 12 hour fundraising ‘telethon’ to help a young city man battling multiple sclerosis (MS).

Leon O’Connor is bidding to raise €70,000 for surgery in Russia so he can walk normally again. He is seeking stem cell treatment which is not available to MS sufferers on these shores.

Already, his appeal – codenamed Leon’s Lifeline – has raised over €20,000.

And there are hopes among the staff of Limerick City Community Radio (LCCR) that playing 12 hours of music, song and dance, with regular appeals will help the fund yet more.

Mike O’Connor of the station said: “We also aim to raise awareness on the distress caused to people suffering from MS. As well as prominent personalities from the region coming into the studio to chat, we will also have some MS patients and professional persons in that field chatting to our various hosts.”

MS resonates with Old Cork Road man Mike, as his wife Beverly suffers from the condition, which a disease of the brain and spinal chord.

“I watched a video of Leon and it feels like she is just a step ahead of him at the moment. I know what MS can do so the key thing is to make you feel comfortable and give yourself as high a quality of life as possible. That’s where I am coming from with it,” he said.

“We were all wondering what we could do to help. I thought, we have the studio facility, sao why not go for a 12-hour radiothon?”

As it stands, the broadcast will be online only – streamed through LCCR’s web site, www.lccr.ie.

But Mike is hoping the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland award them an FM licence at short notice to broadcast today.

LCCR were broadcasting from Sexton Street, until their lease ran out.

They are still in talks with Limerick City and County Council for a permanent facility in the city.

However, in the meantime, St Munchin’s Community Centre has stepped in to provide a room to the station.

Leon’s Lifeline appeal will be formally launched on Wednesday, with the key fundraiser of a cookery demonstration night in the Strand Hotel taking place on September 25.

If you would like to help the appeal, please visit here. Or, you can drop donations off at the Limerick Strand Hotel, 061-421800.