Chris Thurston, 42, from Wirral, Merseyside, thought he was suffering with a trapped nerve until doctors revealed it was an early sign of a devastating incurable condition
Image: Chris Thurston)
A football-mad dad who thought he was tripping up due to a “trapped nerve” was left “devastated” after discovering it was a symptom of a degenerative condition.
Chris Thurston, 42, used to run half marathons and play the game he loves, but after he started losing his balance in 2017, he was stopped in his tracks.
The dad of two from Wirral, Merseyside, believed it was just a trapped nerve when he would trip on his left leg, Liverpool Echo reports.
But after speaking with medics, Chris was given the life-changing news that it was an early symptom of Motor Neurone Disease, the same condition which plagued Stephen Hawking.
He said: “I was pretty devastated. You read everything and you start thinking the worst, you think, ‘What’s going to happen to my wife, my family, my children?
“How long have I got? Will I be able to walk this time next year?”
“It’s one of the most devastating diagnoses you can probably get.”
After speaking to a doctor, Chris trapped nerve turned out to be foot drop, an early sign of Motor Neurone Disease, and the dad was officially diagnosed just before Christmas.
Motor Neurone Disease is a degenerative and fatal condition which affects nerve cells, by gradually stopping them from working.
As well as causing muscles to waste away, the incurable condition can result in difficulty walking, talking, breathing and swallowing.
Like famous physicist Professor Hawking, Chris’ case is early onset.
Most people with Motor Neurone Disease are not diagnosed until their 60s or 70s.
For hands-on dad Chris, the devastating news has been life changing, as he struggles to walk without a frame or wheelchair and can no longer help out with washing or mowing the lawn at home.
Chris said: “Probably the hardest is not being able to go out and play football or go for a run or play football with the kids.
“That’s the hardest thing, I would say, just having to watch while they play.
“You just find different ways to stay involved in those things.”
But the huge Liverpool FC fan is determined to stay positive, still helping out with his son’s football team, attending his matches and taking his kids to watch their team at Anfield.
He added: “Most of the time, I’m just pretty thankful I’m there at all really.
“There are people with this disease who don’t have any of the life expectancy I’ve had, or hopefully will have.
“You’ve got to count your blessings even though you might say it’s unlucky to have it.”
Chris is not sure how many years he has left as a result of his diagnosis, but throughout, he has the continued support of his “incredible” volunteer.
The volunteer from the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association has been supporting Chris by giving him advice and helping him access the right equipment and healthcare services.
A spokesperson for the charity said: “Being diagnosed with MND can be devastating news for people and their families, often people find themselves not knowing where to turn. One service the MND Association provides is support using trained volunteers.
“These volunteers (called Association Visitors) work closely with families affected by MND.
“They are a vital point of contact and provide emotional support, information and guidance to help families access services and grants.
“This support can be very rewarding for an Association Visitor and can make a huge difference in coping for those people affected.
“The MND Association is currently recruiting more Association Visitors to provide this essential support.
“If you think you might be able to help, or want to find out more information about volunteering opportunities with the MND Association, please visit our website.”