VIEWERS of a documentary set to screen on BBC1 in the North East and Cumbria on Monday will see how a Penrith man with cystic fibrosis defied the odds to take part in a national bodybuilding competition.
Earlier this year, Jonny Simpson (right), aged 23, became the first person with the condition to enter a body building competition, and achieved a third place trophy at the National Athletics Committee bodybuilding competition in Manchester describing it as “one of the best days I’ve ever had”.
Jonny was born with cystic fibrosis a chronic genetic condition which clogs the lungs with sticky mucus and makes it difficult to put on weight. As well as a twice-daily nebuliser, he takes about 40 tablets a day.
It was only a few years ago that, as a teenager, he rebelled against his treatment, became seriously ill, and, in his own words, “sunk to the bottom”.
“I was always too depressed to make any plans. Every time I looked in the mirror all I saw was this sick person that I did not want to be,” said Jonny.
His medical support team told him that unless he took action and turned things around his future looked uncertain.
Looking at old pictures of himself as an underweight teenager, Jonny said “I always strive to be the exact opposite of this now because this is my worst nightmare.”
Now an avid gym-goer and a healthy 11 stone, approximately 70kg, Jonny married his American girlfriend Miranda in May this year. She also has cystic fibrosis and had a double lung transplant in January.
Jonny has regular check-ups to make sure he is keeping his condition at bay. Altogether he has spent at least two years of his life in hospital, but his lung function is better than it has been in years.
Jonny will feature on the BBC’s Inside Out program (North East and Cumbria on Monday at 7-30pm). The program will also be available nationally on BBC iPlayer.