Man, 28, hasn’t seen friends for four years due to condition that means he is stuck inside
A Co. Antrim man has not seen his friends for four years because of his debilitating condition which leaves him housebound for months each year.
Brendan Casey, 28, was born with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy - an inherited genetic condition that gradually causes the muscles to weaken.
The condition is progressive, meaning the level of disability gets increasingly severe, Belfast Live reports.
People with DMD usually only live into their 20s or 30s.
By the age of eight, Brendan was in a wheelchair, and now requires a ventilator to breathe.
Every year, he is housebound from September to March - sometimes even until May. This is to protect him from the cold and illnesses that could have serious consequences for him.
During this time, he becomes isolated and unable to meet friends, who he has known most of his life.
His mother Margaret said services in Northern Ireland for over 25-year-olds with the condition are scarce and his family are fundraising to create 'Brendan's Den' to give him a better quality of life.
Margaret, 65, said: “There is nothing in place for them. Nowhere to go and nothing to do in the cold months. They are housebound, lonely and isolated.
“I can only speak for Brendan. As a family we are addressing the problem. He hasn’t seen his friends in four years because there is nowhere available that they can meet.
“With new medical advances, Brendan and his friends have been given longevity, but in the cold months a much poorer quality of life.
“Brendan’s Den needs to become a reality. It will enhance his life, and also the life of his friends.”
Brendan’s family have taken it upon themselves to build an 'all year round den' for Brendan in his back garden.
Brendan’s uncle Damian Barry, 54, said: “If you think about Covid lockdowns, we've been stuck in the house. It was hard for all of us. Can you imagine what it must be like for Brendan to have to do this every year?
“We understand there’s only so much money that can go round, so we thought, ‘You know what, let’s see if we can do it’.”
The den will be made using a weather-proof gazebo, with heating and lighting.
A projector and iPad will also be installed so Brendan can watch football and films, and listen to music.
Brendan has already said that if the fundraiser exceeds target, he will offer the money to other friends with similar conditions to help them get the space they need to enjoy life all year round.
In a post on Facebook, Brendan said: “Please can everyone donate to make this a reality for me as I would love to meet my friends who I haven't seen in a long time.
"I would appreciate any help you can give to make this happen.”
To support the creation of Brendan’s den, you can visit his family’s GoFundMe page .