Band of Builders has answered the call to adapt the home of a former bricklayer, Kevin McGowan who has been bed-bound for a decade due to a rare neurological disorder.
McGowan, a 65-year-old father of six from Toomebridge, County Antrim, was told his life expectancy could be as little as three months when he was first diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in 2012. PML causes irreversible brain damage and has no successful treatment to date, usually resulting in death within a year of diagnosis.
The 10-day project is due to start on July 8, and is being organised by the registered charity, which completes practical projects to help members of the UK construction industry who are battling illness or injury. This will be Band of Builders’ 26th project since it was founded in 2016 – and the first in Northern Ireland.
The project will see work carried out to extend onto the rear of Kevin’s property, enabling a sun lounge with a wrap-around access ramp.
McGowan wife Margaret said: “This project will make the world of difference to Kevin’s quality of life because it will provide a change of scenery, and he will be able to enjoy our garden and just being outdoors,” said Margaret.
“Our family have been astonished at the amount of offers to help and the donations to the project – and we can’t thank everyone enough.”
Marcus McGee, a Band of Builders trustee and the project lead, said: “Kevin’s is such a heart-breaking story and one where Band of Builders wants to step in and help one of our own by carrying out work that will make his and his family’s lives just a little bit easier,” said Marcus.
“Word has spread like wildfire, with so many offers of help from tradespeople to get involved – predominantly from Northern Ireland but also from the mainland – and local businesses willing to gift materials.
“This will be Band of Builders’ first project in Northern Ireland and one that is sure to put our charity on the map for the construction industry taking care of our own.”
Kevin’s project has been boosted by news that local suppliers and merchants – including one of the charity’s Patron Partners, JP Corry – will be gifting materials.