A SCHOOLBOY who was diagnosed with an extremely rare muscle condition has defied doctors to become a talented swimmer.
Lee Thompson, from Parklands, Northampton, was aged 10 when he was told by doctors he had myasthenia gravis, which means a sufferer’s muscles can stop working without warning.
Already a keen swimmer, he was warned by specialists he would never be able to swim long distances.
But six years later, following an operation, he is now a member of the Spinney Hill Swim Club and has qualified for the County Swimming Championships to be held next month.
Lee, aged 16, of Thomas Becket School, said: “I was told I would not be able to keep up my swimming and other sports.
“This made me determined that this illness was not going to stop me enjoying my favourite sport.”
His mum, Geraldine, said: “They told him he would never swim a mile.
“When he said he’d already done that, they said he wouldn’t swim 5km. Then he went and did that.”
Myasthenia gravis is a condition in which the body produces antibodies that block the message from the nerve, causing the muscle not to work.
It is believed there are 70 children in the UK diagnosed with it. Initial symptoms include double vision and droopy eyelids.
Mrs Thompson said: “After a few years on medication we decided he should have surgery on the thymus gland, which works about 25 per cent of the time.
“Touch wood, it has worked. We’re so proud of how far he has come.”
Helen Bedford, of support group Myasthenic Kids, said: “We think Lee is absolutely outstanding.
“Children can end up in a wheelchair because of this condition so the level of hope he gives is phenomenal. He’s our poster boy.”
To help raise money for Myasthenic Kids, Lee is allowing his aunt to wax his legs for charity in the school auditorium before the championships take place.
Family and friends have already pledged cash and schoolmates can pay money to watch.
Anyone wishing to donate to Lee’s challenge can visit www.justgiving.com/Lee-Thompson3