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Davy Żyw, riding on with motor neurone dise – Rouleur

Davy Zyw

By the age of 30 many of us really start to understand what we want in life, and fortunately, remain young enough to go after it. There’s a greater sense of who you are and the pressures and anxieties you had in your twenties start to fall to the wayside. You’re finding your stride in life as you enter this real adult era. The last thing you expect is to be diagnosed with a life changing, incurable disease. However, for Davy Żyw this was the case. Aged just 30, he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND). 

“It was a bombshell when I got diagnosed,” He told Rouleur. “I knew very little about it. The only real reference point I had in 2018 was Stephen Hawking.”

It all began when he had a numb left hand when he was away snowboarding. Putting it down to the cold weather, it wasn’t until he saw a hand specialist that it was considered a greater threat might be the cause. A process of elimination over the next few months led to the diagnosis of MND. “It was a very testing time for me and my family,” he said. “It was obviously hard for me but I think it’s more difficult for my loved ones as I am told what is going on but they have to try and understand the ins and outs of what I am going through.” 

Żyw was hit with the hard facts that 50% of people diagnosed with MND die within two years. Questioning the time he had left at just the age of 30 could have led him down a dark tunnel, instead he quickly learnt that if he was to wallow in self pity and anger he would miss the best days of his health and active life. This gave him a great sense of clarity on what he wanted to do, and that included being on a bike. 

“I’ve always been into cycling. I learned to ride very young because my step dad is a big cyclist – cycling all over the world. I myself wasn’t a diehard cyclist but enjoyed taking part in sportives like RideLondon. But what the bike has allowed me to do now is to prove some of the specialists and doctors who initially saw me wrong. They all said that I should slow down any physical activity as I may exacerbate some of the symptoms because my nervous system was already under pressure and exercise would stress it out even further. 

“But being on the bike is hugely empowering and I am showing everyone that I am actually getting fitter. Week on week I am smashing PBs on Strava and this has allowed me to gain back some of my confidence. When I am on the bike I am not on this sliding slope of decline, I…

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