Community kindness for severely disabled Limavady man

Stephen McLenaghan pictured with his dad Raymond and mum Amber.
Stephen McLenaghan pictured with his dad Raymond and mum Amber.

The mother of a young man with severe disabilities has expressed her gratitude to the community in Burnfoot for their kindness.

A fundraiser was held in Burnfoot on Friday evening in honour of Stephen McLenaghan, a 36-year-old man from the local area who is severely disabled.

Stephen cannot speak or walk and suffers from a range of other problems due to cerebral palsy, epilepsy and a condition known as microcephaly.

A large sum of money was raised at the charity event held at Burnfoot Community Association on Friday, which will be donated to the McLenaghan family and Benbradagh Resource Centre, a day care centre for adults with disabilities.

Stephen’s mother, Amber, said: “Stephen is a 36-year-old. He is severely disabled - he has no speech, little sight and can’t walk. He goes to Benbradagh day centre.

“They give him a great outlook on life. He loves going there with all the activities they have, the other people there and the facilities they have.

“They have the sensory room, which he just loves. It is a room with soft music, lights and it has a great effect on Stephen.

“He has been going there since he was 19 years old. He went to Glasvey from when he was eight and then he transferred to Benbradagh as an adult.

“They cater for adults with learning disabilities and other disabilities. Stephen has a number of things wrong with him - cerebral palsy, he is epileptic, he has a thing called microcephaly, which probably won’t mean much to most people but it basically means that he was born with a small head. It is to do with the brain.

“I know Stephen would get his enjoyment out of Benbradagh. They really are very good. At Christmas time they took them all to the Drummond and they had a really good Christmas dinner for them.

“Without the centre, we simply couldn’t cope. It is good for Stephen and it gives us that couple of hours.

“He loves company, he loves hustle and bustle going on. He loves people talking to him and he loves different people and all the hustle.

“There’s different rooms at Benbradagh day centre for different age groups and different ability levels.

“The event on Friday went very well. It was very well attended. I suppose Stephen lives in the community and they felt like they should do something for him. We are very grateful.”

The event was organised by Drumrane Orange Community. Speaking on behalf of the group, David Murphy said: “The purpose of this event is to both celebrate our culture and to give something back to the community. We want to show that the Institution is here to help our community.

“This is the second year we have had this event. Last year we were delighted to support Cancer Research and this year we were delighted to help a local man and his family. I would like to thank everyone who supported us as an Institution but more importantly Stephen McLenaghan, his family and Benbradagh Resource Centre.”