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20th Dec 2016

It’s A Battle Most Of Us Couldn’t Grasp – But Denise Ryan Is Fighting It In A Perfectly Irish Way


Imagine knowing that you had to raise €100,000 all on your own in order to have a shot at living a normal life again.

Imagine constantly being told we live in a society of equal opportunities and fairness, while at the same time needing to sell T-shirts on the internet in order to get the medical treatment you need.

And imagine you had to wade through 18 months of red tape just to get the grant you needed to be tested for the disease that was controlling your days and your nights – and then subsequently finding out that the delay had placed your life in even more grave danger.

Fuck that, right?


For most of us, the sheer sense of injustice and unfairness would probably make us too disillusioned and angry to function – but evidently, Rathfarnham woman Denise Ryan isn’t most of us.

She was diagnosed with Lyme disease last year, having spent two years seeking answers as to why her body was going into shutdown mode.

And now, having been forced to wait so long, she needs the sort of dramatic intervention that isn’t even available in Ireland.


My immune system, organs, digestive and central nervous system are under constant attack.

I’m completely debilitated and after countless doctors, specialists and thousands upon thousands of euro spent seeking answers all over Ireland, the UK, the US and Canada, I have found hope in Seattle after previously managing to raise enough funds to go there for 3 months.

Denise Ryan

Christ alive.

Anyhow, while the country’s political parties go to war over theoretical claims that their plans will reduce trolley counts, Denise is taking things into her own hands – in the most Irish way imaginable.

She’s designed a Father Ted-themed T-shirt, and is selling it on Etsy to raise the €100,000 (or 10,000 tenners, as she puts it) that she needs.


It’s such a huge amount of money to have to raise, more than I could ever manage alone. But I’m doing everything I can to get there and beat this.

She’s enlisted help from some fairly familiar faces – including Ardal O’Hanlon (Father Dougal) and Michael Redmond (Father Stone) – in order to flog the T-shirts, and also has a fundraising page that can be accessed here, which she’s supporting in a number of other ways.


It’s the sort of uphill battle that most of us couldn’t possibly comprehend.

But here’s hoping that with a bit of support, and a bit of community spirit from the most awesome city in the world, that this sorry story will have a seriously happy ending.

Let’s get everyone into one of these T-shirts. And let’s prove that uphill battles are there to be won.