Damien's Cedar Experience

Friday 13 November 2015

Damien enjoying bowling with the Community Networking TeamDamien is a service user with Cedar’s Community Networking Team in Lisburn. He shares his experience of Cedar and how he lives his life to the full!


“I am presently a Cedar Foundation service user on The Community Networking Programme.  I attend a Social Group in St. Patrick’s Parish Hall, Lisburn on a Monday. On a Wednesday I go swimming and ten pin bowling and on a Friday I go to the cinema with some of the group and then go round for a game bowling. I have made a lot of great friends there and am glad I joined the programme.  Also, on a Thursday, I do some voluntary work for ASCERT, a drugs awareness organisation based in Lisburn. A few months ago I did a skydive to raise funds for Ataxia Ireland. I believe, you shouldn’t let your disability dictate or stop you enjoying life.  Besides, it‘s good to live to the extreme……or more to the point, show some people, how to actually live!


Ataxia is the name given to a group of neurological disorders that affect balance, coordination, and speech. People don’t realise when they are drunk they mimic the effects of Ataxia.  There are many different types of Ataxia and they can affect people in different ways.  Anyone of any age can get Ataxia, but certain types are more common in certain age groups.  Although I don’t have this type of Ataxia, I was diagnosed at 13.  Estimates from recent studies say there are at least 11,000 adults and children in the UK and Ireland with a progressive Ataxia.  Some forms of Ataxia are treatable, but in most cases there is still no cure. There are many different causes for Ataxia. It's important to remember that Ataxia is a symptom and may occur as a result of many different underlying conditions (such as MS, etc). Many Ataxias are inherited conditions and caused by having defects in certain genes.    Research is ongoing to identify other genes which cause Ataxia and discover how they exert their effects. If you require further information about Ataxia you can visit www.ataxia.ie.”

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