STRUCTURAL engineer Juan Delport was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996, which resulted in him losing lost him the strength of his legs.
Ten years later, he was diagnosed with Stage 3B Hodgkin’s lymphoma but fortunately he managed to fight it off with eight months of by going to chemotherapy. for eight months.
“Throughout my cancer journey, I was not only was better off physically but also spiritually. I started going to rehab to rehabilitate my legs to gain some strength. I am able to stand and walk a few steps, but it is very difficult. I do static and asymmetric exercises,” he said.
The courageous 46-year-old went against all odds on March 4 and partook in the Merrifield Mile, where he did the main race, the 1.6km swim, in the Wriggleswade Dam, without the use of his legs.
“Friends of mine jokingly asked me to try the Mile but I enjoy a challenge so I started training for it.
“I first used the swimming pool and then I moved on to the Joan Harrison pool. There were some challenges that I encountered while training but I managed to overcome them,” said Delport said.
“It was my first time going into that in 20 years, there was no turning back when I got in.,” said Delport.
“It was challenging but I pushed myself to do it.
“I would have never been able to face those waters without the support from my family and friends because they have helped quite a lot with the training.”
Delport finished the mile in one hour 24 minutes and 56 seconds.
“You set a goal, you train for it, and you tackle it. When I saw the finishing line, I was excited and overwhelmed.
“Whatever you do, put your best efforts into it because if I hadn’t trained, I would have drowned. But“I had a will to do it, regardless of my disability.
“We all have challenges in our lives, and I believe we are not given challenges that we cannot overcome.”
Delport said he can still mobilise, and would rather use open parking than parking that is suited for the physically challenged.
Delport lost his job last year and has since started his own successful engineering consultancy. which is successful and grows by the day.
Delport’sHis wife, Nicky Delport, said her husband’the amount of determination her husband had was determination was has is admirable, as he been through a lot of hardships in his life.
“We live by faith, one a day at time.
“We thank the Lord for being with us through it all,” she said.