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A personal story of Motor Neuron Disease

2012-09-04 14:37
Joost van der Westhuizen
I want to say that I'm deeply sorry that Joost, who was such a wonderful rugby player for South Africa, and a great ambassador as well, is having to go through this tormenting illness.   

I'm also a parent, and can only feel admiration for his parents and family, and of course the rugby fraternity, in their support of him. You will all be blessed for the love and caring shown to him.  As I always say, none of us know what lies ahead in our future life, and should offer him all our support.  God doesn't judge us when we do wrong, so what right have we to do so.
I know what I am talking about. I just want to say that my youngest sister passed away on 21 April 2003 at the age of 41.
She was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease three and a half years before her death.   She had the illness like Joost that affected her speech, movement etc. All her food had to be mulched to avoid choking. She spent all the time of the illness in an armchair because she could not breathe if she laid down on a bed.
We were so close because I was 11 when she was born. I helped my Mom with her and she even called me "Mommy". We did everything together.
I cannot even begin to describe the shock of hearing the diagnosis, and later watching her suffer.  In spite of the seriousness of the illness, and the fact that it affects the emotional side of the sufferer, she always had a smile for us all. The worst thing is that the mind still functions 100%, so that the sufferer knows exactly what is happening.
The Motor Neuron Disease Association (MNDA) were tremendous, and supported us all so wonderfully. I will never forget their love and caring for us all. In the last few weeks, the Hospice were also so supportive, and we are forever grateful to both organisations.
I can understand that Joost needs to spend as much time with his children as he can . AND Amor must think carefully before she takes any action . Yes, Joost made mistakes, but in God's eyes we are ALL only human, and none of us is without mistakes in our lives. She will have to live with her decisions, and even if she doesn't think so now, she will have to face the consequences in time. Her children will not be happy one day when they get to understand things!
Finally, I just want to wish Joost, and all those supporting him, all the best. My prayers are with you all. May you continue to love and support Joost.

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