Miss Ireland 2017, Lauren McDonagh, has this week given her support to the Muscular Dystrophy Ireland (MDI) as Ambassador for its 2018 #LoveMDI Campaign.

The Donegal beauty, who represented Ireland at the Miss World competition in China last November, attended the #LoveMDI Campaign launch in Dublin this week to help raise awareness and support for services helping people living with the muscle-wasting condition muscular dystrophy.

Speaking at the launch, Lauren shared how her personal experience of muscular dystrophy influenced her desire to support the #LoveMDI Campaign and become its 2018 Ambassador:

“My family was a part of muscular dystrophy for many years, as my older brother Darren had the condition. So, I understand how important the services that MDI provide as I’ve seen first-hand the benefits that they bring. I’m delighted to be able to support #LoveMDI in particular as it is firstly engaging people with muscular dystrophy to share their experiences and it creates a really positive feeling. I want to be able to help share that positivity and turn it into increased awareness and support for MDI”

CEO of Muscular Dystrophy Ireland, Elaine McDonnell, hopes that the #LoveMDI Campaign will help to boost support for its services, which have experienced challenges posed by both the economic recession and recovery:

“We are delighted to be able to have Miss Ireland involved with the #LoveMDI Campaign. Lauren is a wonderful ambassador and we are so grateful for her support and help. It is so important to highlight the positive work an organisation like MDI does, something which helps start a conversation about the work we do.

The challenge for Muscular Dystrophy Ireland, and for charitable organisations across Ireland over the last number of years, has been to maintain services in the wake of cut-backs and reductions in funding. Now with a recovery clearly underway there is an expectation that service provision can improve, however the costs of providing our services are increasing and we have not yet seen a restoration of funding. As a result our services such as Respite Care – which is essential to our members – cannot provided the number of hours, nor recruit the staff or volunteers, to sufficiently meet the level of need.”

Muscular Dystrophy Ireland’s #LoveMDI Campaign runs until Saturday 17th February, and aims to raise awareness through sharing the positive stories and experiences of those who benefit from the organisation’s work.

You can follow the campaign on Facebook @mdiireland and learn more about MDI at www.mdi.ie