Mayor Tierney to raise awareness for Lymphoedema and the power of positivity by lighting Council bui
26 February 2021
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 in blue.
The Guildhall Clock, Council Offices and the Strabane's Alley Theatre will all be lit in the colour from Monday March 1st to Saturday March 6th 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 campaign 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, Western Trust Clinical Lead for Lymphoedema, explained: “Lymphoedema is a chronic long term condition which can 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.
She continued: “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 pleased to confirm that Belfast City Hall, the Headquarters of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council at Cloonavin, Newry Town Hall and Downpatrick Leisure Centre would all be lit blue next week to highlight the campaign.
Mayor Tierney's daughter Mary Kate is documenting her experience of living with Lymphoedema and the power of positivity on social media on her YouTube Channel which you can subscribe to at Lymphoedema Life.
You can follow next week's events on social media using the hashtag #LymphoedemaAwareness.