A Cystic Fibrosis sufferer who overcame his condition to become a bodybuilding champ starred this week in his very own BBC documentary.
Cumbrian weightlifter Jonny Simpson and bodybuilder first came to the attention of his local paper, the Sunday Sun, back in February, when he became the first Cystic Fibrosis sufferer to enter a major bodybuilding tournament.
This week he appeared on the BBC1 Inside Out programme, which followed his efforts leading up to and including his entry in the National Athletics Corporation Bodybuilding competition, which was held this year in Manchester.
The 23-year-old Penrith lad has had, by his own admission, “a whirlwhind year” – in which he scooped third place in the competition – so he said that it was great to have the opportunity to see what he’d been up to on TV.
“I’m nervous because I haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t know what it is going to be like or worst of all, how I’ll come across on it,” he told the Sunday Sun ahead of broadcast.
“It’s been such a whirlwind year for me that in many ways it will be nice to actually catch up with what has happened.”
Tragedy struck this year, when his newly-wed wife, American Miranda Hutson – a fellow CF sufferer – fell seriously ill after her body rejected a double lung transplant and he was denied a US visa to visit her in hospital.
“I still can’t get to see my wife, but I’ve had to try and keep busy to keep myself from getting too down about it,” he told the paper.
“I’ve got big plans for next year. I’m going to enter another competition because finishing third last time gave me the bug. I want to get bigger and stronger so am concentrating on that now.”
Jonny also revealed that he “started bodybuilding as a way of improving my own quality of life, and it all mushroomed from there.”
“This documentary is designed to be an uplifting programme to show how you can overcome problems and live a healthier and longer life.”
The Inside Out programme was broadcast on BBC1 North East and Cumbria on Monday evening.