Man keeps motor neurone disease at bay with gym and protein shakes

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 September 2015

Darrell Wright isn't letting motor neurone disease stop him living life to the full

Darrell Wright isn't letting motor neurone disease stop him living life to the full


An inspirational former showjumper says he is keeping his motor neurone disease at bay by going to the gym four times a week and taking protein supplements.

Darrell Wright was diagnosed with the degenerative condition eight years ago after becoming so tired at his family car business – Imperials in Chadwell Heath – that he was exhausted by 11am and unable to climb three steps.

At the time, the 53-year-old was told he had just three-to-five years to live.

But after a year of sitting at home doing nothing, the father-of-two decided to “turn his life around” and joined Central Park Gym in Harold Hill.

“I’m fighting off the disease that otherwise would have got me a lot earlier,” he said. “When I was diagnosed they said just go home, we’ll be in contact. For a year I did just that. Then I thought actually I am going to turn this around.”

Darrell, who lives in Gidea Park with his long-term partner and carer, Deb, had never set foot in a gym before his diagnosis despite competing internationally as a showjumper.

He has now lost 2.5st and takes protein supplements twice a day.

“I do an upper body work out and I’ve built it up, because MND takes it away,” Darrell said. “My right hand and shoulder are wearing away, and my legs are like skeletons.”

At the gym he often has people asking him about his condition and how he manages to keep so positive.

“I was devastated when I found out but I’ve just got such a positive outlook,” he said. “The doctors can’t believe it, they see me as a one off. When other people are diagnosed they tell them about me.

“Going to the gym helps mentally as well because I’m getting out meeting people.

“Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I can’t get out of bed and other times I mentally can’t put one foot in front of the other, but I’ll keep going as long as I physically can.”

Darrell also plays golf once a week and had a handicap of 16.

“That’s self taught too, I’ve never had a lesson,” he added.

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