Belfast Telegraph

Bikers wheel out a surprise for Colm as he battles motor neurone disease

By Cate McCurry

A group of Harley Davidson bikers surprised a terminally ill principal by ensuring he arrived in style at a major teaching union conference in Belfast.

Colm Davis (58), who is the popular principal of Tor Bank School in east Belfast, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) last year.

The devastating diagnosis prevented him from taking up his position as president of school leaders' union NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers).

Principals from across the UK gathered in Belfast for NAHT's National Executive conference yesterday.

The bikers surprised Colm as part of the union's charity partnership for 2017 with the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Colm, a father-of-three, underwent numerous tests before he was diagnosed with the disease last May.

MND is a progressive disease that attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

Gradually, messages stop reaching the muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting.

The terminal illness can affect how sufferers walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe.

Colm's wife, Victoria (46), said it has had a slow, gradual effect on Colm.

"It's a very difficult diagnosis but we are taking it day-by-day and enjoying our time," she said.

"It takes a long time to come round to a prognosis that is so grim and all the statistics are not very positive.

"We are physically and mentally preparing for a different life when his illness deteriorates.

"Colm is a fighter, he's determined and has a great peace of mind.

"He's very strong and believes in taking things as they come.

"But we are fundraising and doing as much as we can in the time we have."

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