Springboks legend Joost van der Westhuizen has promised to keeping fighting on, despite recently being told by his doctor that he only has three years to live.
Initially van der Westhuizen’s first priority was to make sure his insurance policies were in order to ensure his children’s future would be looked after.
Only last month van der Westhuizen received the horrific news that he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease. But that will not stop the legendary halfback.
”I’m fighting this illness with my faith. And my faith is strong,” van der Westhuizen told a South African newspaper.
”The first thing I did was to check if my policies are in order for my kids,” van der Westhuizen said
”The wind has been knocked out of my sails,” he said. ”I stared at the doctor in disbelief. I might only have three years left.”
Van der Westhuizen first noticed something was not right when he was on a family holiday with his kids and friend (Dr Henry Kelbrick).
”I struggled to move my hand, but I just left it,” he said. ”It’s typical; I thought it was an old sports injury. But, as time passed my speech became impaired. When I spoke to people, they would say: ‘Joost, are you drunk?’
”Later on, when I took the kids to Sun City for three days, it happened again. The kids and I and old Kellies (Kelbrick) played in the pool with a ball.
”Then Kellies and I started to wrestle. That’s when he realised there’s something wrong with my arm.
”The next day we started to talk. I asked him: ‘Can you hear that my speech is becoming more and more impaired?’ He immediately sent me to a neurologist and then they took X-rays.
”After Kelbrick told me I have motor neurone disease, he said that doctors didn’t know how to treat it. I became a blank. I hardly remember anything from that day…It’s my nervous system disintegrating.”
Despite the life-changing news the World Cup-winning-star vowed that he will fight the disease all the way.
”But, I will fight this thing. Even if it’s the last thing I do.”
by Buford Balony