South Africa

End is near for Joost

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 08:54
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I know I'm on a deathbed from now on
Quote-end

Legendary Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen has admitted that he is near the end as he continues his battle with motor-neuron disease.

The World Cup-winner who scored 38 tries in his 89 Tests for the Boks was diagnosed with the debilitating condition in 2011, and his physical condition has steadily deteriorated since.

"I realise every day could be my last," he told BBC Sport. "It's been a rollercoaster from day one and I know I'm on a deathbed from now on."

Since being diagnosed with motor neuron disease Van der Westhuizen has set up the J9 Foundation which is a charity that raises awareness about the disease.
 
"I've had my highs and I have had my lows, but no more. I'm a firm believer that there's a bigger purpose in my life and I am very positive, very happy," he added.

At just 42 years old it will be a tragically premature end for a player many consider one of the best scrumhalves to have played the game, but he has clearly made peace with his fate and is set to leave a legacy beyond the rugby pitch throught the J9 Foundation.

Meanwhile, the Blue Bulls Company has announced their full support of the J9 Foundation and believes that assistance can be provided through various initiatives such as using the players for Foundation exposure, stadium usage, advertising space, and providing for and participating in silent auctions.

One of the Foundation's focus areas is to initiate programmes and affiliations with major brand leaders, which is why Foundation founder Joost van der Westhuizen looks forward to the new partnership formed,

"Life is about creating memories and I have created some of my best memories in a Blue Bulls jersey. It is an honour for me to create more memories with the Bulls, but this time around making a huge difference in the lives of MND patients together," he said.  

CEO of the Blue Bulls Company Barend van Graan commented: "Joost was an asset to our team and it's only fair that we support both him and all those in need with this disease. We look forward to supporting a well-run organisation that assists in ensuring that MND patients are correctly diagnosed, receive the best possible care and achieve the highest quality of life."

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