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I'll Send You Butterflies tells the story of a woman’s journey through Motor Neuron Disease and her family’s determination to care for her, in spite of the challenges of her illness and the COVID 19 pandemic.
Until October 2019 Margaret Tynan was a healthy, active woman in her seventies. Still working part-time as a market researcher, she spent the rest of her time travelling, reading, volunteering and minding her grandchildren. After getting a pain in her neck and noticing a growing stiffness in her right hand, one of Margaret’s lungs suddenly collapsed.
After months of investigations, on 12th March 2020, the day that Ireland closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Margaret was given a shocking and terminal diagnosis - Motor Neuron Disease. Even though Margaret and her family had heard of MND, they knew very little about it. They soon learned that this rare, rapid and fatal condition attacks the nerves that control movement so the muscles no longer work. They also discovered that while Margaret’s gripping had been affected and her breathing was slightly impaired, this disease would likely affect her ability to walk, dress or feed herself and one day she might not be able to move or speak. Margaret would effectively be locked into her own body.
For an outgoing and active woman like Margaret, whose job involved talking and travelling, this news was unimaginable.
On hearing the news about her diagnosis, the family decided that Mary-Elaine would document Margaret and the family’s journey in the coming weeks and months.
The very intimate documentary follows Margaret and her family’s lives in 2020 as they try to keep up with the rapid progress of MND, in addition to dealing with COVID-19 restrictions.
Documentary on One: I’ll Send you Butterflies is a raw and emotional documentary which follows the heart-breaking journey of a woman and her family who must navigate the seismic changes in all their lives and prepare for the inevitable loss of the matriarch of the family.
Narrated by Mary-Elaine Tynan and Tim Desmond
Produced by Mary-Elaine Tynan and Tim Desmond
Additional recordings by Rob Treloar and Brian Kieran.
Special thanks to the staff at Saint Francis Hospice and the staff at Beaumont Hospital Dublin for their co-operation and care in the making of this documentary.
First broadcast RTÉ Radio 1 - Saturday 4th September, 2021 at 2PM
Repeated RTÉ Radio 1 - Sunday 5th September, 2021 at 6PM
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries