Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Billy Bowden

Billy Bowden was a cricket player in New Zealand, who has now had to turn to umpiring because of his Rheumatoid Arthritis. He also had a cameo in Slumdog Millionaire.


As an umpire, he has had to alter certain signals usually given because of his arthritis. The picture above is an example of this. As a young 21-year-old, Bowden began to notice symptoms and subsequently be diagnosed with RA. This left some of his fingers bent.

Here are some interesting words from this courageous man:

Until four years ago, when he became an ambassador for Arthritis New Zealand, he didn't talk about it publicly. "Was it because I was embarrassed, because I was a failure, my faith was tested... because it was why, why me?" he says. "I was healthy, only 21, my life was in front of me, and it was an injustice. I wasn't happy."

Eventually, his strong Baptist upbringing allowed him to reach a more positive conclusion. "Arthritis has been good for me, because I am sitting here now talking to you about something I would probably never have done if I had been healthy and played cricket. God has got a plan for everyone, and that was my plan... my arthritis has changed my life and turned me into someone I might not have been."

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Ignore the capering: he's clearly a dedicated professional. Nowadays, for example, his ascetic lifestyle means he barely feels any pain from his arthritis. Bowden is virtually teetotal (except for a South African drink called amarula, he prefers a mixture of ginger ale and pineapple juice), he doesn't smoke, he gets at least seven hours' sleep, does 30 minutes of exercise a day and follows a diet planned by Jenny. "Some people think I'm on something, some kind of pill or tablet, but I just tell them that I'm high on life."


How he can make it through the day without taking a lot of medicine is amazing. He has definitely learned to take this debilitating disease and turn it into something that doesn't define him. It is easy to feel like he did as a 21-year-old (seeing as I am one) and think about how unfair it is that I have this disease that can, as we have seen, ruin lives. Sometimes the pain is almost too much to bear. I think that after researching how he has tried to continue living life normally, I have a new hero to look up to.

Here's the interview I retrieved Billy's words from.

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