In February the Sunday Sun revealed how Cumbrian weightlifter Jonny Simpson was set to become the first ever Cystic Fibrosis sufferer to enter a major bodybuilding competition.
And since our story broke, the 23-year-old hasn’t looked back as he’s enjoyed the busiest year of his life.
Tomorrow night he will appear in BBC One’s Inside Out show, which follows him as he enters the hard-fought National Athletics Corporation Bodybuilding competition in Manchester where he finished third.
“I’m nervous because I haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t know what it is going to be like or worst of all, how I’ll come across on it,” he said.
“It’s been such a whirlwind year for me that in many ways it will be nice to actually catch up with what has happened.”
Not only has Johnny, of Penrith, Cumbria, made history as the only person with Cystic Fibrosis to ever enter a weightlifting competition, he’s had a busy and traumatic year with his lovelife.
In May he married his American girlfriend Miranda Hutson – who also has CF – in her native St Louis.
Miranda – who had a double lung transplant earlier this year – headed back to the UK with her new husband and was by his side as he took part in the competition later that month.
But weeks later she fell ill when her body began to reject the lungs, and Jonny was left devastated when he was refused a Visa to enter America to see her. He said: “I still can’t get to see my wife, but I’ve had to try and keep busy to keep myself from getting too down about it.
“I’ve got big plans for next year. I’m going to enter another competition because finishing third last time gave me the bug. I want to get bigger and stronger so am concentrating on that now.
“The documentary covers the competition and I’m looking forward to seeing it – although I’m not sure what I’m going to think when I see myself covered in fake tan and in a pair of Speedos.”
The documentary will show how Jonny has refused to be beaten by his condition, and has thrown himself into raising awareness and proving how it doesn’t have to be a life sentence.
But he admits he has had to field some negative comments along the way.
He said: “I’ve been accused of using my CF as a way of self promotion to get myself into the news, and people have said I’m arrogant with a bit of an ego.
“But this isn’t true. I started bodybuilding as a way of improving my own quality of life, and it all mushroomed from there.
“This documentary is designed to be an uplifting programme to show how you can overcome problems and live a healthier and longer life.
“If people want to throw accusations at me then that’s their problem. I’m not doing it for anyone else but myself.”
Tomorrow’s Inside Out programme will be broadcast on BBC1 North East and Cumbria at 7.30pm.