joost van der westhuizen

Joost van der Westhuizen, a South African legend on the rugby field and an inspirational hero to so many around the world, started a foundation that will change many lives for years to come.


South Africa (6 February 2017) – In 2011 the world was shocked when the news broke that Joost van der Westhuizen, known for years as the golden boy of South African rugby and a former Springbok captain, had been diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND).

This rare condition attacks the central nervous system, causing progressive disability. There is no known cure.

Cruel Fate has no favourites when it chooses victims and tragedy can strike anyone. The South African rugby hero learned this when he was diagnosed with the disease, but where others might struggle to accept their lot, Van Der Westhuizen tackled it with dignity… and humour.

Tough and tenacious on the rugby field, Van der Westhuizen applied those skills in his fight to stay alive and help find a cure for MND, if not for himself, then for others.

In a race against time, Joost had a dream to fulfill. “In the beginning you go through all the emotions and you ask, ‘Why me?’ It’s quite simple. ‘Why not me?’ If I have to go through this to help future generations, why not me?”

All who had seen Joost in action will know that he was not one to give up without a fight. His game-changing prowess as a brilliant scrum half was focused on a battle for survival and, more importantly, on making a difference to the lives of others with the disease.

More than a team player, Joost became the ultimate Man of the Match.

Since 2011, Van Der Westhuizen had been working on a legacy to help those in the same position who may not have the funding or support. The determined South African travelled around the world to visit MND support centers to gather information on the disease to bring back home.

Both the J9 foundation and the Joost van der Westhuizen Neurodegeneration Centre were borne out of his passion to help fellow South Africans who may be fighting a similar battle with MND.

“There are two things that we take for granted everyday, and that is time and health… and the moment you lose that, then only do we wake up.”

The foundations aim to educate the public about MND and the people in the medical industry about how to better care for patients suffering from the disease.

You can assist by visiting the J9 foundation website or you can make a difference by simply SMSing J9 to 42305

Sources: Wikipedia / J9 Foundation
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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