To the outside observer, Geoffrey Solomon, from Greens Norton, appears to be a very active 90-year-old.
Having worked in the manufacturing industry for many years, Geoff now gives back to his community as a parish councillor, chairman of the 50+ Club and former chairman of Oxfordshire Scouting Association.
What you might not guess is that Geoff actually has a rare auto-immune and neuro-muscular condition, myasthenia gravis (MG), which nearly took his life. The condition can affect talking, walking, swallowing and breathing.
There are about 10,000 to 12,000 people living with the condition in the UK, but it can be very difficult to diagnose and as yet there is no cure.
Geoff’s symptoms started with double vision, then he started to develop swallowing difficulties. After looking up his symptoms online, Geoff came across myasthenia and went to his GP.
Blood tests showed that he did indeed have MG and he was admitted to Northampton General Hospital.
Geoff said: “I cannot thank the wonderful ITU staff at Northampton General enough. Myasthenia is a condition which can be fatal and twice they brought me back from the abyss.”
After hospital, Geoff spent five weeks in Longlands rehabilitation unit in Daventry. He also received help from myaware, a charity thats supports people living with myasthenia.
Geoff now lives life to the full, despite some difficulties due to the side effects of the medication he has to take.
He said: “I play bridge every week, am an active member of U3A and a number of 50+ activities. I have surrendered my driving licence but have a large electric scooter and many wonderful friends who give me lifts.
“Myasthenia has not stopped me living my life the way I want to live it.”