The Garry Schofield Column: My mate Paul Gill’s MND reprieve is the greatest news

IT’S simply a sensational – and very, very welcome – development.

I’m still taking in the news that Paul Gill isn’t after all suffering from the truly horrible motor neurone disease – so goodness knows how my old friend and Leeds teammate is feeling.

Talk about a roller coaster of emotions!

Paul was diagnosed with MND six months ago after showing the characteristic symptoms, having tests and seeing a specialist.

He had been taking statins to lower cholesterol in the blood, but after the diagnosis, he stopped doing that.

In MND cases, it’s usual for symptoms to become progressively more pronounced, but that didn’t happen with Paul.

His consultant was curious, arranged for Paul to have another set of tests, and discovered he was suffering from something called statin-induced myopathy, which affects the nervous system and muscles in a similar way to MND.

Paul was told it’s pretty rare, and that his consultant had never seen it previously in 15 years of working in that field.

His situation has been likened to a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces get jumbled up before slowly being put back together.

Having had to deal with being told he had MND and living with the diagnosis, he has now been handed a second chance and has pretty much got his life back.

He’s obviously delighted by the development, but it’s also a lot to take in, and when he told me, and I started to get to grips with what he was saying, we both shed a tear.

While obviously happy for himself, Paul has had an insight into what it feels like to be told you have MND and then have to cope with that diagnosis, and he really feels for those people who aren’t as lucky as he has been.

As regular readers of the column will know, we held a special Rugby League evening for Paul at his local, Clayton Conservative Club in Bradford, to raise funds for MND research.

And Bradford Bulls made a brilliant gesture in making Paul their guest of honour for the recent pre-season game at home to Leeds.

They made the Trevor Foster Suite at Odsal available for us to invite his family and friends along, and having been given his great news a couple of days before, he broke it to everyone present, bringing the house down in the process.

It was a really emotional moment, and at a time when so many awful things are going on in the world, it was fantastic to be able to celebrate something so special.

We were always going to use the afternoon to raise more money, which we did, and Paul is keen to press ahead with further events we’ve been planning in order to generate as much as we possibly can to help in the fight against MND and to try to find a cure.

We’ve got an evening with Kevin Sinfield planned for September, with further details to be announced closer to the time.

Obviously Kev has been truly amazing and inspirational in his magnificent support for Rob Burrow, and busy as he has been with his England rugby union commitments in the build-up to the Six Nations, which has just started, he took the trouble to contact Paul after being made aware of his truly great news.

Read an interview with Paul Gill on his MND reprieve here.