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Irish woman Michelle Murphy fighting back after being diagnosed with terminal ALS

"Michelle was very fit ... it made it all the more stark to see how quickly she declined. She is now in a wheelchair"
Michelle has refused to give in after being given a terminal prognosis when she was diagnosed with ALS

Michelle has refused to give in after being given a terminal prognosis when she was diagnosed with ALS

Eddie Rowley

When young Irish businesswoman Michelle Murphy began struggling with simple tasks two years ago, she never suspected it would lead to a life-changing diagnosis.

Last July, at the age of 39, Michelle from Leixlip, Co. Kildare, received the shock news that she was suffering from ALS - aka Motor Neuron Disease (MND) - which has been in the spotlight recently through Charlie Bird's personal battle with the disease.

Now Michelle, who has just turned 40, is battling to save her life and is currently receiving pioneering treatment at the BodyScience clinic in Miami, Florida, which has boasted massively positive results with ALS patients.

However, Michelle, an employee of LinkedIn, needs to raise €300,000 for the treatment.

Michelle (right) with friend Sarah Glackin

Michelle (right) with friend Sarah Glackin

A Go Fund Me appeal set up by one of her close friends, Sinead Walsh, has so far brought in €56,000.

"We raised €56,000 through word of mouth and people who know Michelle, and while it's a lot of money, we are only 20 per cent of the way there," Sinead says.

"We are so grateful for the support so far, but we are desperately hoping that more people or maybe some companies will help us to meet the target of €300,000 to cover Michelle's treatment."

Michelle is in the early stages of treatment at the Miami clinic, and has no indication yet if it will be successful.

Looking back, Sinead tells how Michelle had been living life to the full when her world suddenly collapsed around her.

Michelle Murphy with her dad Michael and mum Rosaleen

Michelle Murphy with her dad Michael and mum Rosaleen

"Michelle was very fit and doing healthy things, and she was very sociable with a big circle of friends," Sinead says.

"She was also incredibly productive and energetic when it came to her work, which made it all the more stark to see how quickly she declined. She is now in a wheelchair.

"Michelle is an only child and her parents are elderly, so it's heartbreaking for them as well.

"She had also adopted two dogs during lockdown and she's had to get them rehoused, which broke her heart."

Sinead tells how Michelle's health rapidly declined.

"Michelle's physical problems first started in her limbs," she says.

"The first indication was when she was struggling to open a press - it progressed really scarily rapidly from there.

"It's a complete anomaly because it's usually men over 60 who are affected by this.

"When you look at her today you think, 'how are you dealing with this, how are you so strong?', but she has been nearly prepping for it unconsciously.

"Michelle wrote one of the first training modules on growth, mindset and grit for one of the banks in Ireland when she was working in learning and development.

"She very much applied that to herself. She did a lot of meditation and a lot of self-development through the years.

"She used to go to Bali for three to four weeks and do self-development courses and meditation."

Although her prognosis was devastating, Michelle was determined to fight for her life and discovered the pioneering treatment available at the BodyScience clinic in Miami.

Michelle with friends on a night out

Michelle with friends on a night out

"When she was diagnosed in Ireland she was told 'there is no treatment for this, you've got two to three years'.

"The clinic in Miami is working on the premise that ALS, which has always been classified as a neuro disease, actually starts in your liver.

"It's a toxin that gets into your body that your body is unable to break down, and eventually the neurons start to die.

"What they did with Michelle in the first stage of the first week of treatment was to try and protect her neurons, and then they go in and try to blast this thing that's causing it," explains Sinead.

"With her it was a parasite, and the medical community has acknowledged there is a link between ALS and this parasite.

"It's really common. You could get it you get it from animal faeces and you might not know you had it.

"Someone else might get it and get a bit sick and somebody with a propensity to get ALS will get it and literally have ALS.

"BodyScience has had people who were given a terminal diagnosis and they are walking within four weeks.

"In some people they can just arrest the onset, and in some people it doesn't work at all."

Michelle is praying she'll be one of the lucky ones.

If you would like to contribute to the Michelle Murphy fund for life-saving treatment, you can donate now on GoFundMe.

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