Award-winning broadcaster and campaigning journalist Stephen Rhodes has faced the works in his time – poison pen letters, physical abuse and even death threats.
But nothing prepared the boss of Bullet Point Media for the news he received last October when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and told he had as little as two years left to live.
“I was in denial,” says the former BBC Three Counties Radio show host.
“I didn’t want to find out anything about it. The effect on your family is terrible.
“I dropped out of work for a while. But now the business is up and running again and work is what I want to do.”
MND is a progressive disease that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves. It has no known cause or cure.
Stephen Rhodes is determined to do all he can to raise money and awareness of the disease that is slowly taking over his body. “I’ve always been a noisy old geezer and now I’m going to be a noisy old geezer for MND,” he says. “It’s a horrible nasty old thing and I want people to think about it and give their support.”
His third wife Greggy, sons Nick and Jack and stepson Sam, daughter Beck and her husband Mark are already organising marathons and researching the web for anything that might delay the disease’s deadly onslaught.
His brothers and sisters – he’s one of eight – all wanted to come over from Ireland when they heard the news. But Stephen, 64, put them off. “I find it difficult dealing with people who feel sorry for me,” he explains.
Stephen admits losing his independence is his biggest fear. But he adds: “I’ve met lots of lovely people with MND. It’s like belonging to a very special family.”
Help raise money for research at www.justgiving.com/godfreykeenan