MS patient and ESP physiotherapist – a true story

An interview of one ESP graduate to another

Fighting MS as an ESP student, yet turning into a physiotherapist and still here in Amsterdam to inspire you with his story: Please meet Hadleigh.

When I met Hadleigh the first time back in 2005 he was all into surfing, good life, beeing active and even working his ass off to be a physiotherapist and graduate from ESP.
After graduation, we all turned into different paths and a year ago in 2016 as I was walking to do a house visit for a patient I came across a lady pushing a wheelchair with some guy in it, it was Hadleigh, I was shocked to see him like that! I called him, "Hadleigh", it took him some time to recognize me, for me it was a punch to the face experience, but he was positive as always, with his "how are you doing Bro" and I am all good bro.

I decided to take Hadleigh for an interview and a ride through memory lane. I am sure he can motivate you and show you that even with an MS condition you can really make it and be a physiotherapist and turn life into something meaningful.

This is the story of a biker, a surfer and good friend and an MS patient who made it and graduated from ESP, to be a physiotherapist.

Hi Hadleigh, thank you for joining us, first tell me, does it feel strange to be talking about ESP almost 10 years after graduation?

Hi, Aviv I am ok, thanks for asking. ESP? Wow, that seems like a lifetime ago! It doesn’t feel strange as the ESP was quite a powerful section of my life journey – thinking about it takes me straight back.

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How and when did you find out that you got MS? and what were you doing before you had MS?

I was working for Yamaha Motorcycles as a product manager, In September '99 it started with blurred vision in my left eye. In December '99 I had an MRI and the lesions on my brain and spinal cord leading to the possible onset of MS. In March 2000 my right eye also started to have blurred vision which confirmed that I have MS.

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Ok, so now you know you got MS, life is going to take a big turn, what you do next? why even think of being a physiotherapist?

After the initial trauma of being diagnosed, I began to realize that it would be wise to learn more deeply about the human body – I wanted to know how best to manage the (incurable) disease. I then considered how to adapt to a new career and figured that I could both help myself and others with a career in physiotherapy.

How do 24 hours as an MS patient look like?

Well, I am very focused and curious about stopping disease progression and possible recovery…..I will meditate first thing then either swim, bike or train with a physio. I am following a lifestyle protocol based on the knowledge of an Australian medical professor (George Jelllinek) who also has MS ( and diet is very important. I had a treatment with Lemtrada (chemotherapy) in 2013/14 and now maintain no MS activity through diet and lifestyle alone…

Can you tell us what are you doing at the moment?

Due to a sudden onset of worsening MS symptoms (2010 - directly after graduation!), it was clear that the physical demands of Physiotherapy would be too difficult for me.I adapted once more by retraining as a mindfulness trainer – I have always found the body/mind connection to be fascinating.

Hadleigh and ESP

At this point of the interview, I decided to go a bit lighter and find out how was it for Hadleigh during his study at the ESP, from fun moments to struggle moments and also share with you some motivation words that will inspire you

The picture was taken during the graduation ceremony back in 2009. He is surrounded by Sebastian Muller from Germany,  Hanae Kurose from Japan, Marius Kappeler from Switzerland and Babs Banks (maiden: Eberhardt) from Germany.

Do you still remember ESP? does it take you via memory lane?

Oh yes indeed! If I think back I definately  have some strong memories!

Are you still in contact with your former fellow students? do you feel that due to the ms it become harder to keep in touch?

I am still in contact with a few of them – some more often than others and social media has made staying in touch much easier. Some of my closest ESP friends are like brothers and sisters even after 10 years!

What was your biggest struggle during ESP?

Honestly? Self doubt – I constantly thought I would never make it!

who was your favorite lecturer?

Jan Giesen

what do you miss the most from the esp period?

My fellow students

What is your best tip to our ESP students when it comes to motivation?

Try to just focus on the present task and don’t worry about the past or future – that reduced stress and the end comes quicker! Before you know it you are a physiotherapist!

is there anything else you would like to say or just shout into the air and let it all go?

Yes, when time are tough try to be your best friend! Thank you very much, 

So, who am I?

My name is Aviv Hidrian and I am an ESP graduate, a physiotherapist and SEO adviser for ESP. These three characteristics make it very nice to help out ESP with their marketing and social media strategy.

ESP's extended family is both offline and online!

  I love to develop new things in many ways and together with Bas we have great plans with our online appearance. You will read more about it in a future post...;-)