Fr Tony Coote was just fifty-three years old in February 2018 when he was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease. Just a few short months later, he found himself confined to a wheelchair. But rather than succumbing to the darkness that threatened to overwhelm him in the days after his diagnosis, he drew on his powerful faith and unwavering belief in life and found a way to light, hope and acceptance. From growing up in Fairview, to serving in the dioceses in Ballymun and later Mount Merrion and Kilmacud, and his charity work while in UCD, Fr Tony takes us on the journey of his life and shows us how, through this devastating illness, he came to know the true meaning and nature of God's love. Live While You Can is the inspiring, life-affirrming account of finding joy in dark times and living every day in the now.
Meeting Fr Tony Coote was transformative. He is truly a one off. An amazing, inspirational, courageous and humane individual. He radiates kindness and great humour. People have an immense love for him and one can instantly see why. - Camille O'Sullivan
Every so often a guest comes my way that makes you stop in your tracks; for his humour, humility and humanity, Tony Coote is one such gentleman. This story is salutatory and important - Ryan Tubridy
This book is about Tony's personal story. It is a story that will change the way every reader will look on his or her own life. - Archbishop Diarmud Martin
I know that my life is richer as a result of knowing Fr Tony and I'm sure, when you turn the last page of this book, yours will be too. - Claire Byrne
Fr Tony Coote is Parish Priest in the parish of Mount Merrion and Kilmacud in Dublin, Ireland, where he has lived since 2008. In July 2019, just months after being diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease, Tony organised and took part in Walk While You Can, a fundraising walk from Letterkenny, County Donegal to Ballydehob, County Cork to raise money and awareness of the disease. The walk of over 550 kilometres received national attention with Tony completing the journey in his wheelchair.
In December 2018, Tony was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from UCD for outstanding service to the community recognising the role he played with the now nationwide student-led mental health movement 'Please Talk', and for his work in setting up UCD Volunteer Overseas.