‘Hi all. My name is James and I have had HSP for a number of years. It kicked off in 2008 and a blood test in 2011 confirmed that I have HSP SPG4.

I am from the UK and I was one of the last $10 tourists! I travelled extensively round Europe in my teens and early 20s. Third time lucky married to Mary-Ann for 11 years. I have a daughter, Mary-Ann has 4 children and we have 4 grandchildren.

James & Mary-Ann

By way of background, I was a carpenter and worked my way to qualify as a Licensed Builder specialising in structural repairs to all types of buildings. Due to HSP, I was unable to continue to run my building business and was thinking about retiring when I received an offer to be a consultant for another structural repair company.

We have property in the Stanthorpe wine region that we rent out to tourists. I am still able to use my carpentry skills to repair and make things. It’s a slow process with HSP, but I am stubborn and won’t let HSP stop me from doing things I want to do.

I enjoyed a bit of running over the years with the Hash House Harriers and completed the Sydney City to Surf a few times as well as the Brisbane Gateway ‘Bridge to Brisbane’ run. Over time I had learnt a lot about stretching and pre-run exercise.

James & Mary-Ann enjoying a tasting

I strongly believe this has helped me to cope with HSP and slow down the degenerative process. You have to exercise, or your legs will forget how to walk. I use my Pilates Reformer for my leg and lower body exercise.

I like photography where I have won a few awards. HSP limits where I can go now and I have changed the way I take photos. We have a large wine cellar and Mary-Ann and I both enjoy a good wine with dinner. We still enjoy travelling and I try to find places that have a facility where I can exercise.

An active member of the HSP Australian Closed Facebook group, I have attended a number of social gatherings in Brisbane and met some amazing people with HSP. I try and do my bit for fundraising with a monthly donation to the Foundation and my recent Birthday fundraiser via Facebook. Thanks for reading my short story.’


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