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Last Updated: Friday, 12 December, 2003, 12:09 GMT
Terminally-ill man's festive lights
Jason Powell
Jason Powell won the High Court ruling in August 2001
Jason Powell was told by doctors he would not live to see this Christmas.

More than two years ago he fought and won a High Court battle for 24-hour home care rather than having to be looked after in a nursing home.

At the time it was predicted he had no more than six months to live and his case was viewed as a challenge for the right to die at home.

But not only has he defied medical expectations, he is using Christmas to raise money for a charity he hopes will one day help change his life and that of other multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

The 35-year-old has been living with MS for more than half his life and its gradual progression has left him severely disabled.

I thought it would be nice to have a collection box so that if people wish they can donate to a charity which helps people like myself
Jason Powell

Although he needs around the clock care at his home in Whitland in Carmarthenshire, he says he is as well now as he was when he took on the old Dyfed-Powys Health Authority in the courts 28 months ago.

He has regained weight he lost during a nine-month stay in hospital before the court case and recently left his bed for the first time in two years thanks to a new wheelchair.

Mr Powell says it is a quality of life that he would not have had, had he been forced into a nursing home where most residents would have been more than twice his age.

It means friends and neighbours can easily call to see him and it gives him a degree of independence.

That, along with the hope he will one day benefit from medical advances, keeps him positive.

Every week he makes a donation to the Myelin Project, an MS research charity.

And this Christmas he is raising more money by decorating the outside of his home in array of lights, Santas and reindeer.

Christmas House
Mr Powell estimates he has collected 2,000 of decorations

There are several kinds of multiple sclerosis that vary in severity, although it makes life unpredictable for all patients.

It is the result of damage to myelin - a protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system.

When myelin is damaged, it interferes with messages between the brain and other parts of the body.

The Myelin Project is carrying out research into how the body can be repaired.

To help fund its work Mr Powell has a collection box on his garden gatepost and people have been showing their appreciation for the display by making a donation.

"I wanted to brighten up my home," he said.

Earlier this month he felt well enough to go outside his front door to look at the display for the first time since he has been back home.

This week Mr Powell went further afield to tour the Bryngwenllian estate where he lives to check out the competition from other festive decorations.

"I thought it would be nice to have a collection box so that if people wish they can donate to a charity which helps people like myself," he said.


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