A TERMINALLY ill Bournemouth man is walking 15,000 steps a day before his condition takes over the use of his legs.

James Smith was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in June 2021.

He lives with his wife Carly, 37, and three children Harry, 8, George, 5, and Rosie, 2 at their home in Bournemouth.

Motor neurone disease (MND) is a debilitating neurological condition that affects the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord.

Bournemouth Echo:

Before his diagnosis, James used to compete in half marathons raising money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

He said: “I would have never thought I would now suffer from this debilitating disease.”

Now, he is fundraising for the charity that has helped him and his family through the ordeal by walking 15,000 steps a day.

The 39-year-old added: “What started out as an innocent twitch in my arm has now slowly progressed into twitching in most of my upper body and now little to no strength in my arms and hands.

“The progressive nature of this disease will eventually lead to me having no muscle strength and even the ability to swallow and, last of all, to breathe.

“As my diagnosis has slowly progressed, I've had to utilise the Motor Neuron Disease Association, who's been helpful and supportive since my diagnosis.”

He added: “My wife and I saw they were doing the 15,000 steps this year. And I thought, you know what? While I still can, I’ll do it.”

Speaking on the challenge, James said: “It's been a nice experience that I've been able to bring to light a bit more about the disease and fundamentally raise some more money towards helping not only myself but others with this disease.

Bournemouth Echo:

“When I got diagnosed, I did ask the question of how long have I got? And the neurologist said that the survival rate is quite low. It's anything between two years to five years from diagnosis.

“But surprisingly he told me around about ten years, if not decades which was nice to hear.

“Even though it's relatively slow in comparison to a lot of others, he said I should start to tick items off my bucket list by the time I’m 40.”

Donations can be made to James’ cause via his Facebook fundraiser titled: ‘I’m walking 15,000 steps a day to help beat motor neurone disease.’