Rugby

Joost inspires ex-Shark

2014-05-21 11:13
Joost van der Westhuizen (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen has given fellow MND sufferer and former Sharks player Ryan Walker words of encouragement.

Van der Westhuizen, who was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (MND) in 2011, visited Walker at his home in Nottingham Road in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Tuesday, the Mercury reports.

Walker, who played scrumhalf and centre for the Sharks in 2002 and 2003, was diagnosed with MND two years ago shortly after the birth of his first child.

He and his wife Paula, who is expecting their second child in three weeks, were comforted by Van der Westhuizen and David Thorpe, the CEO of Van der Westhuizen's J9 Foundation.

The former Springbok started the foundation to help raise awareness about the disease and assist fellow sufferers.

Thorpe said the message they want to convey is that there is hope for MND sufferers and that they are close to finding a cure.

Walker said the difficulty about the disease was that information about it in South Africa was a "bit of a black hole", with a lack of local research.

Van der Westhuizen agreed and urged MND sufferers not to "think it is the end".

The two were were opposing scrumhalves in the 2002 Currie Cup semi-final when the Blue Bulls beat the Sharks 22-19 at Kings Park.



Ryan Walker playing for the Sharks against the Blue Bulls in the 2002 Currie Cup semi-final in Durban. (Gallo Images)

Read more on:    joost van der westhuizen  |  rugby
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