You are viewing the content for Saturday 11 February 2006

Johnstone reveals battle against MS

Tony Johnstone

By Mark Garrod
EUROPEAN Tour golfer Tony Johnstone has spoken about contracting multiple sclerosis and his luck at being given drugs treatment to allow him to continue playing.

The 49-year-old Zimbabwean, winner of the Volvo PGA championship at Wentworth in 1992, kept the diagnosis of the illness quiet last year because he still had to tell his widowed mother.

Now he is only too happy to talk.

"I want to spread the word that there is hope for MS sufferers," he said yesterday.

A neurologist thought his "dead left side" was being caused by a viral infection, but his co-ordination started to be a problem and then he suffered memory lapses as well.

"There was even one day when I forgot my son’s name and I had to go to one of his school sweaters and look at the name tag," he said.

Scans by the neurologist revealed the multiple sclerosis.

"Those are words you hear used about someone else, not yourself," added Johnstone.

"I heard all the numbers. The national average is 15 years from onset to wheelchair."

However, a London specialist he was referred to informed him of a trial of a new drug, Campath, being conducted in Cambridge.

"There were 120 people on the trial and I got the 120th spot," he said.

 

Johnstone reveals battle against MS

Tony Johnstone

By Mark Garrod
EUROPEAN Tour golfer Tony Johnstone has spoken about contracting multiple sclerosis and his luck at being given drugs treatment to allow him to continue playing.

The 49-year-old Zimbabwean, winner of the Volvo PGA championship at Wentworth in 1992, kept the diagnosis of the illness quiet last year because he still had to tell his widowed mother.

Now he is only too happy to talk.

"I want to spread the word that there is hope for MS sufferers," he said yesterday.

A neurologist thought his "dead left side" was being caused by a viral infection, but his co-ordination started to be a problem and then he suffered memory lapses as well.

"There was even one day when I forgot my son’s name and I had to go to one of his school sweaters and look at the name tag," he said.

Scans by the neurologist revealed the multiple sclerosis.

"Those are words you hear used about someone else, not yourself," added Johnstone.

"I heard all the numbers. The national average is 15 years from onset to wheelchair."

However, a London specialist he was referred to informed him of a trial of a new drug, Campath, being conducted in Cambridge.

"There were 120 people on the trial and I got the 120th spot," he said.