by Mary Magee
RAMS, Race Against Multiple Sclerosis, which faces closure in weeks received much needed support from its patron Charlie Lansborough who held two sell out concerts at the Grand Opera House recently.
The collection helped the charity raise £1,300.
Billy Jo Beck of RAMs said, “We are extremely grateful for Charlie’s support. Charlie is sure there are some kind people out there who would be only too willing to help. It takes £103,000 per annuam to keep the centre operational.
“Charlie and David Hill Promotions have always supported our charity and now that we face closure I knew that we could rely on them again. They have always supported us so it is so nice that we got this money which means a lot to us. We were so grateful at being allowed to collect at the show. Charlie is a true gentleman.”
Charlie who is famous for such classics like ‘I Will Love You All My Life’ and ‘Part of Me’ and whose wife Thelma is related to Billy Jo said, “Through that connection I visited the drop in centre a number of times and through those visits I came to appreciate what a wonderful service RAMS provide. It would be a dreadful loss to MS provision in the area should the centre be lost.”
He went onto praise the work and staff at RAMS, “They are wonderful people doing great work and I am proud to be associated with them and their cause. They rely on donations to survive and at present they are in desperate need.
“I trust that the good folk of Northern Ireland will come to their aid for the sake of all who benefit from their presence.” Fears have been growing for some months about the charities future.
The Derriaghy based charity was set up in 1985 to treat people with Multiple Sclerosis and has since extended its facilities to sufferers of strokes, neurological conditions, cerebral palsy, arthritis, fibromyalgia, ME and even sports injuries, most recently motorcyclist Michael Pearson. They also have the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
Centre Manager BJ Beck said that problems with the charity based at the Cutts has come about since it was gutted by flooding in 2012. At one stage their funds have become so low they are struggling to keep providing subsidised treatment for their patients.
He said that RAMS puts aside about £65 towards each patient’s treatment on top of their donation.
“South of the border, they charge about 150 euros for the treatment and in America it’s around 200 dollars for an hour,” said Billy Joe.
Anyone who wishes to help can visit Rams website www.ramsni.com or ring them on 02890-622936.