Meet Nigel, he has CMT Disease, a degenerative condition that means his nerves do not tell his muscles what to do. This means that Nigel, over the years, has lost the ability to walk, grip and use one of his vocal cords. Nigel has disabilities, but he has never seen himself as disabled. When his third child, Ellie, was diagnosed with the same hereditary illness, he wanted to inspire her the same way that his parents had inspired him, to stay positive and see the possibilities of what can be achieved. So he set out to achieve 50 challenges before his 50th birthday, to inspire Ellie.
The 50 List is Nigel’s story. Part diary and part autobiography, Nigel weaves into the account of his challenges, stories from his life so far. Through twelve months we journey with Nigel as he reaches terminal velocity, drives very quickly in a dragster and attempts to complete a puzzle, which is no mean feat for someone who has difficulty gripping anything.
And here I have to admit an affiliation. I have known Nigel since I was a young cocky fifteen / sixteen year old. I also feature in the book as Nigel recounts some musical exploits back in the 80s. Nigel and I played in a band and I know exactly how poor his grip can be. Many a time we would be playing a song and the drum beat would suddenly become ‘less complete’. More often than not this coincided with Nigel shouting, ‘duck,’ as a drumstick flew through the air. It was only a matter of time until we taped the drumsticks to his hands.
I laughed, I cried but most of all I was truly inspired
However, The 50 List is a story of courage and Nigel’s account of how despite everything he has had to endure, he has still managed so much. I admit I felt shamed as I read, knowing how much I complain about things in my life and the things that I don’t achieve. Nigel wrote the book to inspire his daughter and it has, and it has also inspired me. I am sure as you read you’ll be inspired too. Nigel’s writing is witty, humorous and honest and The 50 List made me laugh and cry, but most of all I was truly inspired by someone who has done so much.
To find out more the following websites are a great help, oh, and you can also buy the book.