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Life & Style

Irish woman Denise Ryan hopes Father Ted t-shirts will help raise €100,000 to fight Lyme disease

Denise Ryan — funds urgently needed
Denise Ryan — funds urgently needed

PAT MUSTARD, the philandering milkman from Father Ted, might yet become an unlikely hero for one Dublin woman suffering from a debilitating form of Lyme disease.

Denise Ryan (31) was, until five years ago, a happy-go-lucky lady who enjoyed travel and outdoors pursuits. She was living in Toronto, Canada, working as a content writer for a website by day, and working as a waitress in a restaurant in the evening.

At the weekend Denise would go camping — and that’s when tragedy struck. Because it was probably during one of her adventures in the Canadian outdoors that she contracted Lyme disease. This incapacitating illness is caused by a bacteria carried by a tick — the early symptoms include a rash which spreads over the body.

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Five years later, Denise now urgently needs treatment in America, where advanced care is available, but where medical costs are substantial.

So I’ve designed a T-shirt with the help of a friend Pat Laffan — Pat Mustard from Father Ted. I’m hoping to sell as many as possible to help me raise enough to go

The T-shirt depicts Pat Mustard, the philandering milkman from Craggy Island Creamery in Father Ted.

“Money is such a horrible thing, but every donation however small is a tremendous help,” says Denise. “It’s a huge endeavour, but I have to do this. I will continue to fight this disease for as long as I can. And hopefully the T-shirts will help!”

deniseDenise, who is from Dublin, has experienced a range of symptoms: “I suffer from severe late stage Lyme disease,” she explains. “The last two years have been absolutely awful. I’m completely debilitated, and not able to work. My parents in Rathfarnham look after me, but I urgently need treatment.

“Things have now deteriorated to a life-threatening state.  I have Lyme disease, pneumonia, gastroparesis, Lyme arthritis, severe osteoporosis and muscle wasting due to malabsorbtion and many bacterial, fungal, viral infections.

“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, Britain, the US and Canada, I have found hope in Seattle after previously managing to raise enough funds to go there for 3 months.

“I need to go back urgently for a year of intensive treatment,” she says.

Treatment for Lyme disease in Ireland and Britain is not as advanced as in the US. “The doctors here are unable to treat me properly as they just don’t have the experience. But in America they deal with so many cases that they have very advanced treatment regimes available.”

The problem of course is funds. The cost of the treatment course in Seattle is going to be around the €100,000 mark.

To that end Denise has set up a website:

“That’s the amount of tenners I need — ten thousand of them!” she explains.

Between Father Ted, Pat Mustard and the generosity of the Irish people, it’s possible that Denise might just be able to get her old life back.

To order a Pat Mustard T-shirt go to:


Mal Rogers

Mal Rogers is a columnist and reporter with The Irish Post

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One comment on “Irish woman Denise Ryan hopes Father Ted t-shirts will help raise €100,000 to fight Lyme disease”

  1. David G Turco

    Make sure you get tested for the nasty co-infections. Lyme is more treatable than some of the co-infections and often in't not the lyme that's killing you. I would also think a Lyme literate Doctor (that's what we call them in the US) in the US would work with your local Doctor in Ireland.


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