WFH NETWORK

WFH Patron, Jan Willem André de la Porte –
the high-flying Dutchman

Sportsman, entrepreneur, businessman, family man, benefactor, racing-car driver.

Jan-Willem André de la Porte is a larger-than-life figure, an inspiration to fellow people with hemophilia and a “natural rebel.”

As an active member and generous supporter of the bleeding disorder community for many years, Jan-Willem was invited in 2001 to become WFH Patron.

Jan-Willem was born in 1955, in the Hague, Netherlands, before his family moved to South Africa, where he was raised and educated. The young boy rebelled against any restrictions on his activities and learned to endure painful bleeds “in order to get on with living.”

Home alone at age nine, he fell off his bike, split his femur and spent six months in bed. He was fitted with a calliper and was told he would wear it for life. Jan Willem rejected this fate, took off the device and built up his muscles again.

However, the leg never bent again. Not deterred by this, as a teenager he ended up back in hospital after jumping off a wall, fracturing the same femur again. Many years later, Jan-Willem fell and fractured the other femur and due to stress, overwork and complications went downhill rapidly.

Realising on time that things were bad, determination, proper treatment, exercise and remarkable courage in the face of pain, enabled him to recover with enough mobility to indulge his passion for racing historic cars and other sports.

“Hemophilia has been a motivator rather than a demotivator,” he says. “I realized I needed to be fitter to survive the stupid things I got into.”

Jan-Willem’s attitude and experiences have made him an ideal Patron and a staunch supporter of the WFH mission of Treatment for All.

They’ve also helped form the message he passes on to others with hemophilia:

“Rebel against your fate. With a good approach to health and the right psychological attitude, you can succeed in all you want.”

 

Volunteer News 
October 2010