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One man's guide to alternative therapies

What You Wish For

One man’s guide to life, death and alternative therapies

By Paul Blacklow and Rebecca Hayter

Fifteen years ago I co-wrote a book with a man whom I never met, at least not in life. Paul Blacklow had died of motor neurone disease two years before I became involved in completing what he had started, but I wrote as though he was reading every word.

When Paul was diagnosed with MND at the age of 31, newly married, he realised that the medical world had few answers for him, so he began exploring alternative therapies. Prior to his illness, he was a fairly conventional Kiwi bloke working as a sports massage therapist for the Crusaders. But the enormity of his diagnosis led him to explore his health as a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being. There were some therapies he felt to be hoaxes; to others, he committed 100%.

The doctors had told Paul that he would gradually lose all mobility and die within five years. Paul lived fully in that time, including having two children with his wife Julianne, and even felt gratitude for the experience of MND. He raised more than $60,000 to pay for his treatments and set up a support group to help other sufferers of MND. When he began writing his book, he was already significantly disabled so he dictated his chapters over the phone to his sister, who typed for him.

At the time of his death Paul had completed 13 chapters, and Julianne promised him the book would be completed and published. When he died in March 2007, Paul had found absolute peace, a feeling shared by those who supported him.

I answered Julianne's advertisement in April 2008. I had nursed my father through cancer and I knew that ultimately this book would be an inspiring story, which it is, but keep the tissues handy.

What You Wish For - one man’s guide to life, death and alternative therapies is available in paperback on my website, NZ$14.95, plus postage.

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