Community rallies to help Limerick woman tackle motor neurone disease

Carol Liston O'Connor with her husband Liam and their children - Ellie-Mai (11), Molly (9), Liam Óg (7),and twins Mikie and Paddy (4).

WHEN mother of five Carol Liston O’Connor learned in November 2022 that she had motor neurone disease, it came as a big shock.

But the 42-year-old Broadford woman and sports star is refusing to give up in the face of her bleak diagnosis.

“It’s a struggle, but I have to get up and keep going every day. I have so much to live for and my children are number one,” she told the Limerick Post.

Carol, originally from Athea, has been hugely active her whole life. Having always been involved in sports, she played football for the county, and, despite her difficulties, is still active in her position as chairperson of the Dromcollogher-Broadford Coiste na nÓg.

A teacher in Desmond College, Carol also has a busy family life raising her young family of five children with husband Liam –  Ellie-Mai (11), Molly (9), Liam Óg (7),and twins Mikie and Paddy (4).

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Determined to get to grips with the life-altering condition that was brought into the national spotlight when broadcaster Charlie Bird announced he had motor neurone disease (MND) in 2021, Carol says she is “so fortunate” to have a loving supportive family and team around her.

“I have so much help from everyone. The girls from West Limerick Independent Living come in every day,” she said.

Carol’s husband Liam is a self-employed plumber and the whole family is grappling to come to terms with her diagnosis.

MND affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, stopping muscles working as they should.

Carol is now a wheelchair user and her speech has been affected. She says Liam can no longer work full time while caring for her and their children, but bills still have to be paid.

There is no cure currently for MND, but friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe page which has already attracted massive generous attention.

The ‘Help Carol Liston O’Connor Fight MND’ online campaign has already reached more than €100,000 of its €200,000 goal.

The sum is hoped to allow Carol to travel to the USA where she will receive treatments to improve her quality of life which are not available in Ireland, as well as adapting her home and transport and buying equipment she will need.

Her local community have rallied around the much-loved Limerick woman in a big way, and are currently organising numerous other fundraisers so that the family can enjoy their time with Carol without having to grapple with finances.

On Saturday April 13, old rivalries will be reignited when Dromcollagher-Broadford legends come out of retirement to play Athea, while Sunday April 14, there will be a vehicle parade featuring “tractors, vintage cars, motorbikes – anything with an engine,” a member of the fundraising committee said.

The GoFundMe page ( was launched last week and organisers say donations of any amount are welcome.