LONG time Richmond Football Club supporter Rod McIlroy received a special visit from past Tigers players last Friday.
The Kingsley resident, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in April 2013, was given a signed guernsey by former players David Palm, Dale Weightman, Darren Gaspar and Jake King.
The visit meant a lot to Mr McIlroy’s family, who have watched as the disease has debilitated the formerly fit and healthy 55-year-old.
“He can no longer speak, he can no longer eat solid foods and his muscles deteriorate more and more every day,” his son Brad said.
“People hardly recognise the man he has now become and are horrified by the confronting nature of what he has. We are all so fortunate that he has mum as his full-time carer. She has done an amazing job and continues to be his everything.”
Mr McIlroy’s friend and neighbour Brian Atkin helped to organise the visit.
“Knowing his passion for Richmond and given his horrible circumstances, it was the least I could do,” Mr Atkin said. “I thought it was fantastic to see his alertness and awareness and enjoyment.”
Brad said his father could not stop smiling throughout the visit. “You could tell he was blown away,” he said.
“It was really special.
“This is a battle that has not yet been won.
“However, as beastly as this disease has become, it hasn’t taken away his love of watching sports, catching up with friends and family but most of all his quick wit and humour, albeit written down by quick a scribble of a pen.”