Mayor supporting campaign which is very close to his heart

Buildings in Derry lit up as part of new awareness initiative

Mayor supporting campaign which is very close to his heart

Brian Tierney and his family are supporting the awareness campaign.

Buildings in Derry have been lit up blue this week to raise awareness of a medical condition.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney, is leading a campaign to highlight Lymphoedema Awareness Week by lighting a number of civic buildings in the council area.

The Guildhall clock, council offices and the Strabane's Alley Theatre will remain lit up blue until Saturday to raise awareness of the condition which is particularly close to Mayor Tierney's heart as two of his children are sufferers.

Lymphoedema affects the lymphatic system where excess fluid is retained in the body tissues causing persistent, painful, swelling.

It can affect any area of the body but most commonly the limbs and and weakens the immune system of sufferers.

"This is a particularly poignant camp​aign for me as my youngest children, Mary Kate and Ben, are living with the daily challenges of Lymphoedema," said Mayor Tierney.

"It is a problem that can't be cured but with careful management the quality of life of sufferers can be improved.

"I hope the lighting of our civic buildings will heighten awareness of the condition and let other families know that they are not alone and help is out there to help you manage the condition." 

Explaining more about the condition, Jill Hamilton, clinical lead for Lymphoedema at the Western Trust, said Lymphoedema was a chronic long- term condition which could have a significant impact on patients both physically and psychosocially.

“Awareness of the condition within Northern Ireland and within the Western Trust locality has improved over the last number of years as evidenced by the growing demand on the service.

“Raising awareness of the condition has been embedded into the Lymphoedema Network Northern Ireland work plan for the last 11 years and continues to be something we work on within our own Trust area.

“Early detection and early referral to the service can lead to a better outcome for patients, in the long term, by providing the necessary skills to be able to self-manage their condition.”

Mayor Tierney and his wife Cheryl manage Mary Kate and Ben's swelling using physical therapy techniques such as lymphatic drainage massage and the use of compression garments, bandages and specially made shoes.

However, some days are more challenging than others.

"When they experience flare ups it can be particularly difficult as their mobility is limited and they can't do some of the activities that other children enjoy but they have a positive outlook on life which is truly inspirational.

"They are living proof that no matter what obstacles are in your way you can live life to the full and realise your dreams."

After writing to Northern Ireland’s councils to ask for their support, Mayor Tierney was told that Belfast City Hall, the headquarters of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council at Cloonavin, Newry Town Hall and Downpatrick Leisure Centre would all also be lit blue this week.

Mayor Tierney's daughter Mary Kate is documenting her experience of living with Lymphoedema on her YouTube channel which you can subscribe to at Lymphoedema Life.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Derry Now editorial team on 028 7129 6600 for Derry City stories Or 028 7774 3970 for County Derry stories. Or you can email or at any time.

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