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Dad defied the odds to learn to walk again

Posted onPosted on 7th Oct

A Mansfield man told he had only a 30% chance of walking again put playing golf as one of the focuses of his recovery — and it has paid off.

James Hart, 33, now plays off a seven handicap at Coxmoor Golf Club, Sutton, and is planning a 190-mile walk in aid of a charity that helped him after he suffered a one-in-a-million disease.

He also hopes the fundraising will raise awareness of transverse myelitis, fund research, and show other people with the rare condition that there is hope.

James said: “I really want to give other people with transverse myelitis hope, belief and more awareness.

“It can happen to anybody at any time. There is no known cause and no cure.

“All that is available at the moment are treatments to manage the side effects and to try to limit damage.”

James was also motivated to fight back when he was diagnosed two and a half years ago by his children and his wife.

“At the time the children were aged four (Josh) and five months (Siena), which made it even tougher to accept,” said James.

“But that was a major inspiration to keep me going.

“It is tough psychologically to come to terms with and requires both luck and determination to get through it physically.”

James, who is married to Beckie, 29, said he was determined not to let the condition get him down.

His problems began when he was 30 and contracted pneumonia and pluerisy, which led to transverse myelitis after he thought he had recovered.

Overnight that led to nerve damage and partial paralysis.

James added: “At the time I was told I had a 30% chance of walking again without walking aids or needing a wheelchair.

“I had a number of MRI scans, blood tests and a test of my spinal fluid.”

He was told he had myelitis — an inflammation in the spinal cord that affects messages from the brain to the rest of the body — and had suffered nerve and muscle damage.

James learned to walk further thanks to 18 months of physio at Newark Hospital, which strengthened his muscles.

“I was able to begin to play golf again, a goal that helped to focus my recovery,” he said.

“Now I play off a seven handicap and reached the semi-finals of my club’s matchplay competition.

“I was very proud of and felt lucky to once again be competing at a good level.”

Now James, who still suffers from nerve damage and leg pain, is planning the coast-to-coast walk in aid of the Transverse Myelitis Society.

James aims to walk 16 miles a day from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire in the Easter holidays next year.

“The charity does a great job helping people with the condition and it also tries hard to create awareness,” he said.

“Hopefully this walk and my story will bring more awareness and help people who have a rare disease,”

Anyone wanting to support James can make a donation at gofundme.com/aeh36-transverse-myelitis-awareness

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