Rugby

Joost: I can't eat, walk, bath

2014-05-23 11:09
Joost van der Westhuizen (Getty Images)
Cape Town - Former Springbok and Bulls legend, Joost van der Westhuizen, can no longer walk, bath, dress and feed himself.

Van der Westhuizen, 43, was diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND) three-and-a-half years ago. He is now in stage three of MND, and will become bed-ridden once he reaches stage four.

"What I miss most is being able to eat without help," Van der Westhuizen said in the latest edition of the YOU magazine.

He is fed by business partner Johan Visser, his brother Pieter or David Thorpe, the Managing Director of Van der Westhuizen's J9 Foundation that helps other MND sufferers. Visser also helps Van der Westhuizen to shower and wash himself.

"I can use my phone - make and receive calls and send text messages," he said.

"Apart from those few things I can do nothing for myself. I can't walk at all and I can't use my arms. I always need someone to help me. I've lost 16kg and now weigh 79kg."

Although confined to a wheelchair, Van der Westhuizen visited former Sharks scrumhalf Ryan Walker in KwaZulu-Natal this week. Walker also suffers from MND.

Van der Westhuizen scored 38 tries in 89 Tests for the Boks after making his international debut against Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1993. He played his last match in the Green and Gold against New Zealand in Melbourne in November in 2003.


Joost van der Westhuizen visits former Sharks scrumhalf Ryan Walker and his family, along with current Sharks lock Anton Bresler (Twitter)

Read more on:    joost van der westhuizen  |  rugby
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