‘I miss being able to eat without help’

Joost van der Westhuizen has dropped to 79kg and can no longer walk or bath, dress and feed himself.

The former Springbok scrumhalf 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,' says Van der Westhuizen in the new issue of You magazine. He is fed by business partner Johan Visser, his brother Pieter or David Thorpe, the MD of the J9 Foundation that helps other MND sufferers. Visser also helps Van der Westhuizen to shower and wash himself.

Van der Westhuizen can still chew, drink, swallow and breathe.

'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.'

Photo: You magazine

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