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Community members build ramp for Marystown family

Marystown volunteers pitched in on Saturday, Oct. 6 to help make the home of five-year-old Terrence Mallay more accessible.
Marystown volunteers pitched in on Saturday, Oct. 6 to help make the home of five-year-old Terrence Mallay more accessible. - Colin Farrell

5-year-old Terrence Mallay battling nervous system disease


An act of kindness from community members and business owners in and around Marystown has left one woman flooded with emotion.

On Saturday, Oct. 6 a dozen people or more gathered at the home of Terry and Gertie Mallay in Marystown to build a wheelchair ramp for their five-year-old grandson Terrence.

Terrence was diagnosed with Batten disease a little over a year ago. Since then he has been confined to a wheelchair. Batten disease is the common name for a broad class of rare, fatal, inherited disorders of the nervous system.

Terrence and his father Vincent Mallay, the couple’s son, live in an apartment in the home.

“Very emotional,” Gertie said when asked her reaction to the impromptu construction crew gathered outside her home. “Very wonderful — the community and the people in the community have just been behind us 150 per cent.

“If there’s a fundraiser the hearts of the people just come, we don’t even have to ask — it’s just beautiful.”

People gathered at the home on Ville Marie Drive could be seen carrying out a number of tasks. Some were digging and levelling ground, while another was putting together the ramp before attaching it to the home, and others were bringing sandwiches and refreshments to the workers.

Colin Farewell, a member of the Marystown Volunteer Fire Department, was one of the volunteers who donated his time to the effort.

“Just seen the family had posted that they were looking for some help,” Farewell said. “Me and another couple guys from the fire department decided to come down and help out.”

Business owners in the area also helped where they could with Jack Brenton of Brenton Group chipping in with his backhoe to dig the area and make the process a bit easier.

Pike’s Building Centre in Burin also donated material for construction of the ramp.

“I’m still crying,” Gertie said with tears in her eyes, noting that when she and a friend were told the business would donate the supplies their emotions got the best of them.

“Two of us just started crying,” she said. “We weren’t prepared for that, we weren’t thinking that at all.”

She estimates the cost of the materials needed for the ramp was between $900-$1000 or more.

Gertie said the support the family has been shown is unreal. She is not used to being on the receiving end as she herself is one to readily help others.

“I love to give,” she said. “For years I sang in concerts. If people were raising money I played and sang and showed my talents, never thinking that I’d have it coming back on me , but (it’s) beautiful — (we’ll) appreciate it forever.

“There’s no such thing as just thank you,” she said, “it’s not enough.”

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