RTE Television

The Gene That Could End My Life

Ryan O'Neill is only 30 years old. He has a unique and exceptional family story. Ryan's father died at the early age of 48 from a very rare form of Alzheimer's disease. Of his father's 11 brothers and sisters - 8 of them died at a young age from Alzheimer's.

Ryan has a fifty/fifty chance of having inherited the gene from his father - if so - he too will die at an early age just like his Dad.

Ryan has had to face a terrible choice. Over the past number of years Ryan struggled with this incredible dilemma. Should he do a genetic test and know whether he carries the gene or not?

Ryan has made the difficult choice and embarked on a journey, which will give him his answer. He has decided to take a genetic test to discover his fate.

Over nine months this documentary has followed Ryan as he and his family have had to cope with this remarkable situation up to an including the final moment where he is told the result of the test.

It is something that not many of us could contemplate. How would we feel if we could find out what awaits us in the future and how might we deal with that knowledge?

What is at stake for Ryan is either knowing for definite that he will develop Alzheimer's like his father before the age of 50 or the possibility that he can look forward to a life free of the disease.

50/50 reveals the brave and touching story of a typical Irish family who continue to cope with a unique situation and how Ryan through telling his personal story and allowing the cameras to follow his journey wants to show the incredible impact Alzheimer's is having on Irish society today and into the future.

The Gene That Could End My Life
  • RT One, Sunday, 9.30pm