Australian swimming legend Michael Klim has emerged from the shadows of his ongoing health struggle with unwavering determination and an unbreakable resolve, declaring that it’s now “onwards and upwards”.
Klim was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), which according to the Brain Foundation “is a neurological disorder that results in slowly progressive weakness and loss of feeling in the legs and arms”.
The former Olympian took to his blog in July 2022, where he opened up about his experience with the condition while revealing that he had been diagnosed after “dealing with chronic ankle problems and degenerative back issues for quite some time”.
He made the admission in an effort to raise awareness for those impacted by the condition.
“Over two years ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) which is a neurological disorder condition that targets your body’s nerves, especially the areas of the arms, hands, legs, and feet,” he revealed.
“Symptoms aren’t the same for everyone but in my case, it has affected my legs and feet.”
“The hardest thing with my condition is improvement is very incremental, and it’s slow, nerve regeneration happens so slowly,” Klim said.
“I have been very diligent with my diet and exercise, mindset also. I think the fact that I’ve been able to overcome some darker days in this disorder and now it’s onwards and upwards, hopefully.”
While the condition is no doubt difficult for the former swimming champion, Klim revealed that it is “just as hard” for his family.
“They’re living in this no-man’s land not knowing what the future holds, they kind of feel helpless a lot of the time,” he explained.
“My partner Michelle, it’s been really tough for her seeing me degrade so quickly, losing the ability to walk and losing my identity in a sense, she’s been there helping me to get that back.”
Olympic legend Michael Klim has thrown his support behind the Red Cross Lifeblood campaign that helps improve the quality of life for thousands of Aussies.
To find the nearest location where you can donate, please visit – https://t.co/DtOuIqt7LY pic.twitter.com/UuGRoUG9d8
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) October 2, 2023
Klim also spoke of how he has offered his support to the Red Cross Lifeblood campaign, a noble endeavour aimed at improving the quality of life for thousands of Australians facing similar challenges.
To maintain his mobility, Klim relies on plasma-derived treatment every six weeks
“I’ve got a treatment which I repeat regularly it’s called IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin), it’s plasma derived, so actually plasma donations have overcome blood donations as the most needed types of donations in Australia,” he said.
“There’s over 50 serious illnesses that are treated with plasma itself, from cancers to autoimmune disorders to trauma, infections.
“It’s very similar to giving blood, but actually through that process they separate the plasma and put the rest of the blood back into your body.
“The great thing about donating plasma is you can do it more often, you can give more of it as well, every couple of weeks you can donate plasma.
“With this increase in medications that are derived from plasma, we need more donations.”