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Record-breaking weightlifter inspires others with cystic fibrosis

Josh Llewellyn-Jones has cystic fibrosis. He lifted a million kilos in just 24 hours. Credit: ITV News

Very little is known amongst the general public about cystic fibrosis. It’s a genetic condition which mostly affects the lungs.

A build-up of sticky mucus causes complications, which can lead to the lungs stopping working properly.

When Josh Llewellyn-Jones was born, his parents should have been celebrating the birth of their little boy.

Instead, they were dealing with the devastating news from doctors that he wouldn’t live beyond the age of 10.

When Josh was a baby his parents were told he wouldn’t live beyond the age of 10. Credit: ITV News

As medical advances increased, so did that life expectancy.

Josh, from Cardiff, is now 31. And has let nothing stand in his way.

You explain to someone, what cystic fibrosis is all about, when you’re told by doctors that the average life expectancy is 30, you’re probably not going to make 30, you can take it two ways really, you can sort of, cry about it, you can sit in the corner of the room and not do anything with your life or actually you can make the most of every single day and then realise actually I’m going to surpass all expectations, I’m gonna go past that 30 year mark and I think having CF certainly has changed my outlook on life. It’s made me live the day and live for each moment really.

– Josh Llewellyn-Jones

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Josh has just completed a world record - lifting a million kilos in just 24 hours. Impressive for anyone, let alone someone with such a serious illness.

He believes it’s his commitment to sport and exercise which has kept him alive.

Credit: ITV News

Often people talk about cystic fibrosis as being life-limiting and I think for me it’s quite key to show that I can train for ¾ hours a day, travel all around the country, I can get my food in, I can get my rest in, I can get my physio in, and by physio I mean sports massage, ⅔ hour sessions a week so I think it’s quite important for them to see what’s possible and this is why I started all the challenges really is to show other people, children with CF and their parents more importantly that it possible.

– Josh Llewellyn-Jones

Because of a high-risk of cross-infection, people with the disease can’t meet in the same room.

It means it can be difficult to share worries and concerns. It is something that Josh found frustrating growing up.

Social media has been a huge force for good in connecting people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to meet.

7-year-old Nancy Thomas has cystic fibrosis and looks to Josh as an inspiration. Credit: ITV News

Tonight, Josh meets one of his cystic fibrosis “warriors” - 7-year-old Nancy Thomas.

Nancy does gymnastics 3 times a week and looks to Josh as an inspiration.

  • Find out how they met and what they talked about in tonight’s Wales This Week: Battle To Survive, tonight at 8pm, ITV Cymru Wales.