Joost, a hero to a fellow sufferer


The moment is almost too much for Danté von Wielligh (58) when the famous former Bok comes walking around the corner. Danté breathes with difficulty but still manages to greet Joost van der Westhuizen (41) excitedly from his wheelchair on the veranda. He struggles to talk so his wife, Isabel, interprets.

Today Danté, who like Joost suffers from motor neurone disease (MND), is becoming a member of the J9 family. J9 is Joost’s support group for those with the degenerative condition.

The ex-Bok puts his hand on Danté’s and tries to listen attentively to what he’s saying. “My spirit is good. My spirit is strong,” Isabel interprets.

Then it’s time for the formalities – a cheque for R5 000 and the foundation’s Jacket of Hope which they help Danté put on.

Isabel reveals she’s actually a Western Province supporter but Joost has a witty retort: “Those Province jerseys are great for washing your car.” Read more of Herman Scholtz’s article in YOU 27 September 2012.

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