A MAN who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) five years ago has spoken about living with the condition – and he is happy that high-profile sports stars are helping to raise awareness of the incurable disease.

Wasim Khan was told he had the muscle-wasting condition when he was just 26, and since then, he has received support and care at East Lancashire Hospice.

Mr Khan said following his diagnosis he gave up on everything and became very reserved.

He said: “When I was first diagnosed I didn’t really understand it and was frightened and upset.

“I gave up on everything straight away.

“I need to use a ventilator at night for the rest of my life to help with my breathing and it’s really affected my mobility too. I can’t run and I struggle with stairs.

“I find it difficult to even hold a knife and fork as my hands are so weak.”

MND is a life-limiting, rapidly-progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.

One third of people with MND die within a year of diagnosis, and more than half die within two years.

Two weeks ago, Leeds Rhinos rugby player, and one of the most successful players in the modern game, Rob Burrow, made headlines when he announced he had been diagnosed with MND, aged 37.

Since then he has been trying to raise awareness about MND in younger people, and football star Wayne Rooney, who is a Rhinos fan, along with other high profile sports stars have spoken out in support of Mr Burrow.

The 31-year-old, who lives in Blackburn with his family, is a huge football fan, and said he was pleased so many high profile sports stars are trying to raise awareness of the disease.

Mr Khan has had to learn to cope with MND, and said he couldn’t have done it without the help of staff at the East Lancashire Hospice.

He said: “A nurse suggested visiting the East Lancashire Hospice when I was first diagnosed but I didn’t want to go.

“It took me six months to come round to the idea and then I thought I’d see what services they had to offer.

“I’ve been accessing the hospice’s services for two years now and they’ve been brilliant, they helped me build my self-confidence back up again."