Few people who make vows to stay together in sickness and in health give the words a second thought.
For Rachel Yerbury, the promise she exchanged with her husband, Justin, back in 1995 has tested her in ways most couples cannot imagine. Shortly after they married, motor neurone disease started cutting a swathe through his family. His uncle. Cousin. His grandmother, mother and sister. Justin was determined to research the disease, and set about becoming a leading molecular biologist. His work brought him to New York in 2016, a lecture hall filled with the top minds in MND research. As he stood at the lectern to give a speech on his work, his thumb stopped working. The realisation that this was the first sign of MND in his own body hit him like a punch in the face. He thought immediately, “Fuck. How will I tell Rachel?” And then he continued his speech.
With that, Justin became not only MND’s most high-profile crusading researcher – but one of its sufferers.