Friday 23 August 2019

‘Positive role model’ Paralympian has charity’s full support for Strictly

Will Bayley said he hopes to inspire others living with a disability during his time on the Strictly dance floor.

Will Bayley will take part in Strictly Come Dancing (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Will Bayley will take part in Strictly Come Dancing (Andrew Matthews/PA)

By Abbianca Makoni, PA

Table tennis champion Will Bayley will have the backing of a UK-based Arthrogryposis charity when he takes to the floor for the next series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Bayley, one of the stars of London 2012 and Rio 2016, has suffered from Arthrogryposis since birth, a rare condition which affects all four of his limbs.

“The Arthrogryposis Group will be behind Will and supporting him 100% and we wish him all the luck and success during his journey on Strictly Come Dancing. Go on Will, you can do this,” said a spokeswoman for the charity.

“He’s a positive role model for our young members and we will definitely be voting for him.”

Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita is not a specific diagnosis but is a term used to describe more than 300 conditions that cause multiple curved joints in areas of the body at birth.

The areas affected have severely restricted movement which leads to the tendons around the affected joint being unable to stretch to their normal length.

According to the charity, there are a number of causes of the condition and among them is limited space or restricted movement in the womb and illnesses or metabolic disorders during pregnancy.

The condition affects people differently, leaving some unable to walk.

From the age of three, Bayley underwent numerous operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital before being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of seven.

He was given a table tennis table following two years of chemotherapy treatment and went on to win silver at the London Paralympics in 2012, gold at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 and, more recently, a gold at the Japan Open 2019.

Bayley, who is currently training to defend his Paralympic title at the Tokyo 2020 games, said he has no dance experience but wants to inspire people with a disability and “to prove to people I can do this”.

PA Media

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